Just as Microsoft previously started rolling out its October 2018 Update for Windows 10 PCs (and then paused it to investigate reports of missing files), there is also a new system update available for Xbox One consoles that is packed with new features. One of them is an Xbox skill for Cortana and Alexa. To celebrate the latter, Microsoft has teamed up with Amazon to bundle a free third-generation Echo Dot with select Xbox One X and Xbox One S consoles.
"Anyone who buys a qualified Xbox One S or Xbox One X bundle at Amazon.com will also get a new Amazon Echo Dot, but don’t wait too long because this offer is only available while supplies last," Microsoft says.
The deal is supposed to go live today, though it's not clear which exact consoles come with an Echo Dot. I browsed through several Xbox One X and Xbox One S listings this morning, and while they mention the Alexa skill, there's no indication of an Echo Dot being part of the package, at least at the time of this writing. My guess is the listings will be updated later today.
In any event, this is an opportunity to score a nice deal on a new Xbox One console. There are several Xbox One X and Xbox One S packages that already include a free game, such as the NBA 2K19 bundle pictured above. So, you can potentially score a free game and an Echo Dot, for the price of the console alone.
Why would you want to pair an Xbox One with an Echo Dot? Microsoft is pushing voice control, just as it had previous done with its ill-fated Kinect motion controller. The Xbox skill for Cortana and Alexa allows people to use their voice to navigate and interact with the console through Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices.
"With the Xbox Skill, people can use voice commands to power on/off their console, adjust volume, launch games and apps, start and stop broadcasts on Mixer, capture screenshots, and more. For example, if you have the Xbox skill enabled on your Echo just say 'Alexa, launch Forza Horizon 4' and this command will automatically turn on your console, sign you in, and launch Forza Horizon 4," Microsoft explains.
Microsoft has always envisioned its Xbox One console being a media hub and not strictly a gaming console. This new skill adds to that vision.