Cortana Heading to Xbox One This Fall

Microsoft's virtual assistant will come to the game console as part of a sweeping system update that the company said will completely change the user experience.

Cortana on Xbox One

After Windows Phone, and soon Windows 10, iOS and Android, Cortana is making a move to Microsoft's Xbox One video game and streaming console.

Microsoft is working on an update that will completely change the user experience, announced the company during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference currently taking place in Los Angeles.

"We're making some big changes to make it faster to get to your content and complete must-have tasks on Xbox One. And Xbox One will also become more intelligent with the help of Cortana," announced Microsoft's Xbox division in a statement.

The technology is coming first to Xbox One owners in the United States and United Kingdom this fall, Microsoft said. Similar to the other implementations, gamers can use the voice-enabled assistant to seek out information and set reminders. For example, users can set a reminder on their Windows phones and have it later display on the Xbox One when they log on.

"Through voice commands on Xbox One, Cortana will assist you to more quickly find great games, new challengers and friends on Xbox Live, or accomplish common tasks," said the company in a statement.
"Cortana can also help you get achievements by surfacing videos and information to help you succeed."

Cortana, named after a major AI character in Microsoft's popular Halo video game series, is the company's answer to Apple Siri and Google Now. And the competition is heating up.

Last week, among the many reveals at Apple's 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the Cupertino, Calif.-based device maker said Siri is getting a major update. In addition to stronger error reduction, Siri is getting a much-needed facelift and Cortana-like features that "learn" about users and provides proactive app suggestions and other tips as iPhone and iPad users go about their day.

In addition to Cortana, Microsoft is redesigning the Xbox One's Home screen to provide a more consistent look and feel across the console and Xbox Live on Windows 10. Home will prioritize frequently accessed content and streamline how users discover new games, add-ons and other entertainment options.

Similar to how Windows 10 resurrects the Start menu, the update promises to bring back one of the Xbox 360's most crowd-pleasing features, its personalized avatars.

"We saw the passion from the community toward Xbox Avatars and are excited to bring them back in a more prominent way on Xbox One," said the company. "We are modernizing the look of avatars with better image quality, keeping all the familiar customizations fans loved on Xbox 360."

A new guide will slide in from the left side of the screen, giving gamers quick access to notifications, friends list, party invites and messages during gameplay or while on the Home screen. The Community section is taking lessons from social media sites with an activity feed that displays not only updates from friends, but also from game developers along with trending activity and popular games.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...