Microsoft announced the release date for the next Windows 10/Xbox One update, dubbed Anniversary, today. And with it, the day I’m unplugging my Kinect. It arrives on August 2 and adds a host of new features across Xbox One and PC. I’m focusing on the Xbox One side of things, but you can check out Microsoft’s blog post to see the new features coming to Windows 10.
One of the big features coming in just over a month from now is Play Anywhere. The Xbox team touted the feature at E3. Buy a digital game on Xbox One and you’ll get a free copy of the Windows 10 version (or vice versa). Those of us with a good gaming PC (me!) and Xbox One can enjoy the graphics bump while also playing with friends.
It’s a cool feature, but it’s not the one I’m most pumped to finally get. Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, is finally coming to Xbox One. And that’s not even the best part. When August 2nd gets here, we’ll be able to talk to Cortana through a headset. Commands like ‘Xbox on,’ ‘record that’ and all the other commands will work sans Kinect.
Hell yes, Microsoft. Using the ‘record that’ feature was the only reason why I still had my Kinect plugged in. That, and Xbox Fitness. And with Xbox Fitness getting shuttered, there’s little reason for most Xbox Owners to keep using Kinect. It sucks for those that still use it, but Kinect’s days have been numbered ever since Microsoft ditched the Xbox One/Kinect bundle.
Cortana via the headset isn’t limited to just games. Any command you were used to saying to your Kinect will work with Cortana and more. Everything from the time and weather to movie recommendations from a certain actor and sports updates. Cortana covers them all.
Let’s just hope Cortana isn’t as finicky as the Kinect. We all have those moments when you, or a friend, start screaming ‘Stop Listening!’ during a match. Hey, Kinect thought you wanted to ‘Bing’ something in the middle of a match.
Cortana is live for Xbox One preview members. Those of you who are in, how do you like it so far?
August 2’s Anniversary update also brings language region independence on Xbox One. Select the language you want no matter where you live. Background music support is another big feature Xbox fans have been clamoring for. Now we just need Spotify.
Will you keep using Kinect?
The reasons to keep using Kinect continue to dwindle. For me, ‘Record That’ was pretty much the only thing I was using it for lately. And with Microsoft shuttering Xbox Fitness, I’m done with it.
What about you? Do you still use Kinect? Or, did you ditch it months (or years) ago?