At E3 2015, one of Microsoft’s biggest announcements was the arrival of Cortana on the Xbox One. The software giant took the wraps of a new Xbox One Dashboard that was designed with intuitive navigation and speed in mind and the inclusion of Cortana plays a large part of that.
However, Microsoft didn’t confirm if speaking to Cortana required the Kinect sensor to operate or whether a headset microphone would suffice. A Microsoft spokesperson has since clarified a little more saying:
“The best way to use Cortana on Xbox One is with Kinect. Voice commands make hands-free navigation easy so you can stay focused on your game. If you want, you can type questions and fill in search bars using your controller, as well.”
The wording there still leaves room for interpretation though. The “best” way to use Cortana on Xbox One may not be the only way. But in a footnote within an advert of the new Xbox One Dashboard, Microsoft uses more definitive terminology:
“Kinect required for Cortana speech recognition. Cortana available in select jurisdictions only.”
So there you have it. According to that quote, a Kinect sensor is required to use Cortana on Xbox One. If you don’t have a Kinect sensor, Cortana will not listen to you, even if you have a headset with a mic. Unless Microsoft explicitly says otherwise. You will still be able to use Cortana though, but not with voice.
Microsoft unbundled the Kinect sensor from the console in order to drop prices, but insisted that the motion sensor remains a vital part of the Xbox One experience. It seems Cortana support is one of the reasons why Kinect is still so important. Windows 10, and Windows Hello may be another reason when the operating system eventually makes it to the console.
Do you think features like Cortana and Windows Hello will be enough of a reason to persuade gamers to buy a Kinect sensor? Let us know in the comments section below.