Cortana is coming to the Xbox One this summer

Now that the Xbox One is essentially a Windows 10-based device under the hood, new desktop-like features are headed to the console in its latest OS update, specifically Microsoft’s voice-activated assistant, Cortana. It’s important to note, however, that Canada isn’t included in Cortana’s initial launch regions.

The Xbox One’s voice commands, while competent, currently aren’t intuitive, forcing users to say very specific commands for the console to recognize them. With Cortana coming to the Xbox One, Microsoft promises a more fluid voice command system. Turning on the console now requires users to say “hey Cortana, Xbox On.” In general, saying “hey Cortana,” now grabs the system’s attention first, though it’s unclear how specific commands will need to be.

We do, however, know that Cortana will be able to differentiate between games in the same series, which is a step above what Kinect is currently capable of. For example, if someone says, “hey cortana, I want to play Killer Instinct,” and have multiple titles in the series installed on their Xbox One, Cortana will ask the user to specify what title they actually want to play.


With location settings also turned on, Cortana will be able to search for information such as nearby restaurants, sourced directly from Bing. Also, if the same Microsoft account is synced across various platforms, Cortana notebook information will be attached to the Xbox One as well.

Cortana is currently available on Windows 10 Phone devices and any laptop or PC that utilizes Windows 10, though Microsoft’s voice-activated launched in Canada on desktop a number of months after its initial U.S. Release. While Cortana won’t launch north of the U.S. border immediately, hopefully a Canadian launch for the voice-activated assistant isn’t far off.

Other improvements include a cleaner navigation system, with the main design change featuring a large scrolling grid of every title in a user’s Xbox one library, even if the game in question isn’t currently installed on the console.


Microsoft’s often-discussed universal app strategy, which includes the Xbox One, means desktop apps should soon come to the console as well, though the company hasn’t revealed specific release dates yet. Though it’s interesting Microsoft plans to give Xbox One owners the option to add PC games like League of Legends and XCOM 2 to the “Xbox Live Community,” allowing users to view what friends are playing through the social hub, even if the game isn’t available on the system (this seems to work sort of like Steam’s “add game not on steam” feature).

The Xbox One and Windows store have also been combined together into one larger retail platform.

And finally, any content recorded on the Xbox One can be shifted over to the PC for editing. While this has been possible through third-party software for years, it’s nice to see Microsoft officially offer the functionality.


Here is the entire list of changes included in the Xbox One’s latest operating system update.

At E3 this year Microsoft is expected to reveal a new, smaller iteration of the console, and possibly even a full upgrade poised for a 2017 release.

[source]Xbox One[/source]