The next large update for the Xbox One, set to come out this week for Preview Program members and later this summer for everyone else, is bringing a plethora of changes for better ease of access and social features. Xbox’s Major Nelson recently spoke with Xbox’s Director of Program Management, Mike Ybarra, about the changes.
Cortana, Microsoft’s version of Siri currently running on Windows 10 and Windows phones, is making her way to the Xbox One. She won’t be rolling out everywhere at first, just in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, but the people in those countries will be able to use her in the same way they’ve been using voice commands all along. Just say “hey Cortana” and you’re on your way. Cortana even works without a Kinect, just plug a headset into your controller and she’ll listen to your voice commands all the same. Cortana will function the same as regular voice commands at launch, but she’ll get more features as time goes on.
The Xbox One will also be getting a few changes to its dashboard and menus. The “my games and apps” button will be moved to the top right corner of the screen for easier access, and games that are installing or downloading will be displayed below the button with a progress bar to make it easier for gamers to see how much longer it will be until they can play a new game. Icons will be arranged in vertical columns, rather than two horizontal rows. This will allow more games to be shown on screen at one time, especially with the ability to change the size of icons, from large and beautiful to small and efficient. More organizational options are coming as well, including enhanced alphabetical sorting options. And rather than simply having a mess of games and apps in alphabetical order, you’ll be able to sort them into their respective letter, using LT and RT to go between sections. The store is getting an update too. The Windows Store and the Xbox Store will be merging, allowing players to more easily see what games they have on what platform.
The next Xbox One update is also making social interaction on the console a lot easier. Facebook integration, already on the Xbox One app, will allow gamers to find people on their Facebook friends list who have connected their page to their Xbox Live account and add them as friends on Xbox. But that’s not all, integration is coming for PC gamers as well. If you have someone playing a game, any game, on Steam from a Windows machine, you’ll be able to see them on your Xbox and message them to join you on console. This is another step Microsoft is taking to integrate PC and Xbox, in addition to cross-play games like Rocket League. Sharing is being made easier as well. You’ll soon be able to choose what your Xbox auto-shares, allowing you to put only the best clips on your feed, while keeping the “wait, what the heck just happened?” clips for yourself. Combined with better clip management, 60fps support, and greater ease of access for editing clips from any software, you can ensure that all your best moments are out there for the world to see.
The next Xbox update is set to come out sometime this week for those in the Xbox One Preview Program, and later in the summer for everyone else. People can check out Major Nelson’s blog for more information, and go to Xbox Feedback to share their opinions on this and future updates.
Are you looking forward to this summer’s update for the Xbox One? What feature excites you the most?
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