Kinect isn't just a gimmick any more. Well, I suppose it is, but it's a damn good one nonetheless. Xbox One's powerful depth sensor is capable of automatically recognising us, our profiles and even when we put down our controllers; tracking our movements and keeping us in frame during Skype calls. Plus, if you outstretch an arm and clench your fist, you'll discover that the Minority Report dream is almost here.
However, by far our favourite thing about Kinect is its microphone, which lets us control the Xbox One using simple words and phrases. It's powerful, enjoyable and feels a bit like helming our own videogame starship. You'll need to say the exact phrases, though, the words of power, in order to navigate your new console without touching a controller.
So here, dear reader, is an exhaustive list of voice commands to show off to your friends today.
Bear this in mind: If you see text written in green, chances are that you can read it aloud to perform an action. Also, after successfully performing a voice command, Kinect keeps listening alertly for a few seconds (an icon appears in the top-right corner of the screen) so you don't necessarily have to say "Xbox" each time to get its attention.
"Xbox on" | Fairly self-explanatory, really.
"Xbox, turn off" | This will deactivate your console (and linked A/V equipment, if you've set that up). You'll have to say "yes" to confirm.
"Xbox, go home" OR "Xbox, show my stuff" | Takes you to your personal home screen. Multiple users can switch between their own content and profiles this way.
"Xbox select" | Shows the exact phrase you'll need to access any on-screen application. Which leads us nicely on to...
"Xbox, go to [EXACT NAME OF GAME OR APPLICATION]" | This is the big one. You'll use this to remotely launch any game or application on the Xbox One - but bear in mind that you need to say the name of the application perfectly. I.e. "Ryse: Son of Rome," not "Ryse."
"Xbox, more shortcuts" | This one's a godsend. It'll display a great big list of most of the appropriate commands.
"Stop listening" | Useful if you've accidentally said "Xbox" in passing and Kinect is eagerly awaiting a command like a loyal, slightly confused puppy.
"Xbox help" | Brings up a handy menu
"Xbox, go back" | Pretty obvious, really
"Xbox sign in/out" AND "Xbox sign in as [PROFILE NAME]" | Again, obvious, but useful
"Xbox show notification" | Displays on-screen notifications. Handy.
"Xbox Snap [EXACT NAME OF APPLICATION]" | Launches an app in 'snap' mode on the right hand side of the screen.
"Xbox unsnap" | Oh, snap.
"Xbox switch" | Changes the main and secondary snap panels.
"Xbox show menu" | Brings up a context-sensitive menu depending on whether you're in a full-screen application or on the home screen. Important: you have to say "show menu," not just "menu."
"Xbox, use a code" | This is AWESOME. If you have a QR code, you can just hold it up in front of the sensor and redeem download content in less than a second. I'm amazed at how convenient it is. Subsequent menus also support voice commands.
"Next page" | If you see a green "next page" prompt on any screen, you can use your voice to advance the menu.
"Xbox, record that" | Records the last thirty seconds of gameplay
"Xbox start a party" | Celebrate good times! Not that kind of party, but this boots up the party activity in snap mode.
"Xbox pause" | Pauses the game
"Xbox play" | Resumes the game
"Xbox, send message" | Allows you to send a message to your Xbox Live friends
Xbox One may not be a Windows Media Centre extender (for some stupid reason), but it can still access a range of entertainment services. This is what you'll want to say to get the ball rolling, the film playing and the beat pumping.
￼Xbox play [music/video] | Launches your content
Once there, you can then say: "Xbox...
Skype is probably my favourite thing on Xbox One right now. It tracks you intelligently, calls friends effortlessly and can be accessed from anywhere with these simple commands:
"Xbox Skype [CONTACT]" OR "Xbox call [CONTACT]" | Launches a Skype call, with two caveats. First of all, you MUST register the contact to your "favourites" list. Secondly, you must then use their full contact name. You can call users on other devices, so it's pretty damn useful.
"Xbox answer" OR "answer without video" | Answers an incoming call. With or without video. Straightforward, no?
"Xbox hang up" | Ends the call
Xbox One lets you enter your TV model, plug in a set-top box and control your entire TV experience using your voice as Kinect blasts out infra-red beams all over the room. Specifically with these useful phrases...
"Xbox watch TV" | Easy as that.
"Xbox show guide" OR "Xbox OneGuide" | This is a bit of a pisstake, really, seeing as OneGuide is only supported Stateside at present. Next year, though, it will allow us to browse and watch digital TV content in a supremely convenient way. Hopefully.
"Xbox volume up/volume down" | Works well, though isn't particularly useful since it modifies the volume in tiny increments.
"Xbox mute" | Mutes the telly. Interestingly, I personally found that the "unmute" command didn't work nearly as often as just saying "mute" again to return to normal.
Xbox One's version of Internet Explorer is fun to operate, though does have a bit of a learning curve. I personally like to use gesture and voice to navigate it, but here are two of the most useful commands.
"Xbox, Bing... [SOMETHING]" - "Something" being a specific game, film or piece of entertainment content. This is somewhat inconsistent for me so far, but most searches end up with a successful result. Be sure to wait until Bing fully loads before making your query.
"browse to [website]" | Heh, how many of you can get "Dealspwn" to work. Go on, try it.