Since Microsoft’s has discontinued its Kinect 2.0 for the Xbox One, the company has been trying to replace the intuitive Kinect voice commands by launching Xbox skills for Cortana and Alexa. Unfortunately, voice commands through these digital assistants has never been as good and intuitive as the original Kinect voice commands, but Microsoft is apparently working on a fix.
As reported by Windows Central today, it seems that Microsoft has quietly upgraded the Xbox voice commands on the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, as well as Amazon’s Echo speakers with Alexa. If you own one of these devices, you can now use more natural voice commands like “Hey Cortana, launch Netflix” or “Hey Cortana, go Home” to interact wit your Xbox One. Previously, you need to formulate your voice commands like “Hey Cortana, tell Xbox to…” for the console to respond, which was a bit cumbersome.
Invoke + Xbox integration got an update today. It's so much faster now, and doesn't require you to say "on Xbox" for it to function. Now works like if you were using Kinect natively for voice commands. It's AWESOME pic.twitter.com/i31dpeUR8F
— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) January 11, 2019
For now, these more intuitive voice commands seem to be restricted to connect speakers, and they’re not working yet on the Cortana and Alexa mobile apps. Microsoft is still selling the Harman Kardon Invoke on its online store for $49.95, though the device is still exclusive to the US. Amazon Echo products are available in many more markets, though be aware that the Xbox skill for Alexa is currently only available in the US and in beta in the UK.