Microsoft skipped an Xbox One update to get ready for the big June update that coincides with the Windows 10 Anniversary update. Xbox Preview Program members will get a chance to take the new update for a test drive this week, with new UI elements on the main screen, the Game Collection, a unification with the Windows Store, and more. Cortana is also officially making her appearance on the console as a digital assistant.
The new Xbox One update will begin rolling out today and is the first of two updates meant to keep gamers connected to friends and the games they play across devices. Update: The update will be deployed starting at approximately 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT per a Twitter post from Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra.
Cortana will now be at your beck and call with the June Xbox One update, and owners won’t need to have a Kinect to use the digital assistant. Microsoft listened to the growing number of fans who have never purchased the add-on and allowed the use of headsets to issue voice commands.
Simply saying, “Hey Cortana” will start the voice command to allow players to look for friends or games, start parties with friends, or even look up news via the Xbox One. Interestingly, Cortana will recognize both gamertags and real names, though it is unclear how the digital assistant will handle gamertags with special characters or odd spelling.
The first images of the new home dashboard for the Xbox One show some slight tweaks. The My Games and Apps button is now on the top right of the screen instead of buried below, requiring players to scroll down to see it. A progress bar for downloads will also be shown on the home dashboard versus requiring users to go to My Games and Apps and then selecting the Queue.
My Games and Apps is also getting a bit of a redo to get rid of the side-scrolling Game Collection. Games are now displayed in a full tiled screen from left to right and top to bottom. A new grouping option by alphabet will also be available along with the ability to change the tile size. Additionally, games that are ready to download and install are now in their own Ready to Install tab, instead of hidden far away to the right in the Games tab.
More integration between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC is also included with the June update. Players on both devices will be able to see what their friends are playing and even set up parties across platforms. PC games, even those played on Steam, will also begin to show up with their own Game Hubs on Xbox LIVE to be displayed across the console, PC, and mobile devices. This appears to be the first step toward the promised cross-play feature between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Part of this convergence between the Xbox One and Windows 10 includes updates to the Xbox Store and Windows Store to make the experiences more similar on both platforms.
“On Xbox One, we’ve streamlined the shopping experience to help you find the games you love faster and at the best prices. You’ll be able to filter, browse and search results by genre, read reviews written by fellow gamers – including those voted “most helpful” by the Xbox Live community, easily recognize what titles are on sale with strikethrough pricing in lists, and more. We’ve also added several new channels to help you discover the content you love even faster. On the Windows Store, we’re adding support so gamers can browse and purchase bundles, episodic games, season passes, virtual currency and other game add-ons and DLC.”
New features are coming to the ability to take screenshots or edit and share game clips via the Xbox One and Xbox app on Windows 10. Users will be able to edit clips they created with their favorite video editor on the PC and then share them on Xbox LIVE through the Xbox app. A new 60fps game clip option is also available in the Xbox app along with the ability to manage screen or video captures from your profile. The Windows Game bar will also now support games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Dota 2, Battlefield 4, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Diablo III running in full-screen mode.
The June Xbox One update will be rolling out to Xbox One Preview Program members over this week. Those in the program will need to make sure they have opted-in via the Xbox Preview Dashboard.
Microsoft will continue to skip monthly updates for now. The developers behind the Xbox One will be working on getting the current update out along with the next big update to the console.
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[Image via Halo 4/343 Industries]