Another significant update to the Xbox One is in the works at Microsoft to bring it even more in line with Windows 10. The console maker confirmed Wednesday that Xbox Preview Program members will get their first taste later in May at the earliest.
Microsoft’s Director of Program Management for Xbox and Windows, Mike Ybarra, shared the news via his Twitter account on Tuesday.
“Win10 Anniversary Update announced at //build will have key gaming features, so next Xbox system update goes to preview end May/early June,” Ybarra revealed.
The statement is worded to make it sound as if there will be no update released to the Xbox One in April or May as a result of working toward the big update planned for this summer.
As previously covered, this is the biggest update to the Xbox One since the November update that brought the new dashboard and upgraded the console to essentially run the Windows 10 operating system. The Win 10 Anniversary update will add even more features to bring more interoperability between the console and PC, plus a bevy of new features.
Xbox One and Windows 10 users will see a unified Windows Store with this update. This is to provide access to apps built with the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This allows apps to run on any Windows 10 device such as PCs, the Xbox One, and tablets. Microsoft is betting big on UWP, so it will be interesting to see which existing native apps for the console will make the jump to UWP following this update’s release.
Cortana, the Siri-like virtual assistant based on the Halo character, will also arrive on the Xbox One via the Win 10 Anniversary Update. This will primarily be geared toward console owners with a Kinect sensor and Xbox Head Phil Spencer touted her more as a game assistant.
The ability to play background music on the Xbox One has also been confirmed as part of the update. This was a built-in feature for the Xbox 360 that has turned into a lamented and oft-requested missing option for current-gen console owners.
The final confirmed feature for the Xbox One with the Win 10 Anniversary Update is the ability turn the console into a dev kit. This will allow developers to test UWP apps and games directly on the console. However, it will only be available to those that have registered their home console a developer console with Microsoft to develop Universal Windows Program (UWP) games and apps.
Turning an Xbox One into a dev kit is available now via a beta, but does not work with the Xbox Preview Program. This means those interested in Xbox One Dev mode will need to create a Microsoft Dev Center account, which costs $19 to set up. A Dev Mode activation app can then be downloaded from the Xbox Games Store to convert the Xbox One from a retail console to a dev kit. The console can be switched back to retail mode with the click of a button as well.
You’ll also need the following:
- Join the Windows Insider Program
- Have Windows 10 running on your PC
- Have a wired connection to your PC from your Xbox One
- Have the latest Visual Studio 2015 and Windows builds installed
- Have at least 30 GB of storage free on your console
Meanwhile, Windows 10 owners can look forward to more options available when playing UWP games such as Quantum Break and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on their PC. The ability to disable V-sync is being added along with better support for G-sync monitors. Additionally, support for modding and overlays will be arriving, though the former still appears to be limited.
Full details on the Xbox One Windows 10 Anniversary update should arrive at E3 with Microsoft’s press conference planned for June 13. Much of the information on the update should arrive prior to then, if the late May-early June release to the Preview Program holds up.
[Image via Xbox]