When Microsoft unveiled the Kinect motion sensor accessory for the Xbox360 it came with another feature on top of motion-tracking. Voice commands gave owners hands-free control over certain functions of their game system. This was upgraded when the Xbox One came out and integrated Cortana into the mix. Now, a new update is available for the console that adds a new layer of versatility on top. The latest software upgrade enables Google Assistant on the device.

Support for Google's virtual assistant follows shortly after a previous update that added Amazon Alexa functionality. Despite lagging behind Sony and Nintendo when it comes to sales, Microsoft makes up for it with innovative features. This follows the company's plans to turn the Xbox platform into an all-in-one entertainment solution for consumers. So far, the only caveat remains to be the need for a Kinect sensor.

Given that Microsoft is no longer manufacturing or selling the Kinect accessory, new owners are unfortunately locked out of the feature. However, for those who have it, Google Assistant comes with the new software update, which should be available right now. Before anything else, an article from Express talks about the requirements to enable the function on the Xbox One. To get things started, owners must access their Google accounts and add the console to their list of devices.

We are excited to announce we’re further expanding our digital assistant capabilities on #XboxOne with the Xbox Action for Google Assistant. https://t.co/1AWNXzGjBE

— Xbox Wire (@XboxWire) September 26, 2019

The service is currently in its beta phase, which means that functionality might be limited as of the moment. Nevertheless, most of the basic voice commands should work as intended with more on the way. Additionally, the only language supported for now is English. Just like other virtual assistant platforms, the phrase "OK Google" or "Hey Google" launches Google Assistant on the Xbox One.

Users who have multiple Xbox One systems at home can rename each unit to make it easier for Google Assistant to recognise which one to interact with, so to speak. To compare, Sony's PlayStation 4 also relies on a similar configuration wherein the camera accessory enables voice commands. Unfortunately, it still needs improvement in order to measure up to Microsoft's console. Ultimately, gamers can only speculate if this feature will be carried over to the next-generation game system.

The second-generation Kinect sensor boasts HD, infra-red and the ability to recognise faces. (Reuters)