Xbox One Anniversary Update To Include Long-Missing Music Feature, New Store, Cortana

The Xbox One Anniversary update will be a welcome change in many ways. For one, Microsoft is bringing Windows 10 functionality to the console just in time for the upcoming slim upgrade. Many PC users have been bemoaning the upgrade Microsoft has been pushing on consumers whose computers can handle it. Windows 7 has been a favorite, but much like smartphones now, Microsoft wants everyone running the same operating system.

This apparently extends to consoles as well. It’s not entirely a bad thing, though, as the PlayStation 4 has been using a Windows 8-style interface since it launched. While the operating system might be annoying for PC users, consoles tend to be better adapted to it.


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One update that has been missing since the days of the Xbox 360 is the opportunity to play your own music in the background during games. It used to be an option on the original Xbox to put a music CD into the console, rip the songs to the hard drive, and then play games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with your own music replacing the stock soundtrack.

The Xbox One Anniversary update probably won’t do that exactly, but it will emulate a feature Sony added to the PS4 recently. You can insert a USB flash drive containing your favorite music and play songs off of it as you use the other features, even while you play games. An upcoming feature will allow you to do the same thing on Xbox One, and you won’t have to have the music player visible on the screen anymore. Previously, if you “unsnapped” the music player, you turned off the music.

Another addition to the Xbox One Anniversary update will be a new store. The previous one was relatively minimal, with several versions of the same game often appearing together in the Coming Soon section. The update will improve browsing and even allow you to purchase a digital game on the go so that it’s ready by the time you get home.

The collection of games and apps you own will be getting a similar reboot, including the menu allowing you to pick different tile sizes and showing your download progress so you can better estimate when you’ll be playing.

Apps are about to get more diverse after the Xbox One Anniversary update, as the console will give you the option to make your own software. If Microsoft approves, your software will be made available in the Xbox Store. This could open the way to a lot more independent titles made by gamers without the need to connect with a publisher. All you need to do is sign up for the Windows Developer Program and soon you will be given that freedom.

Another interesting addition coming with the Xbox One Anniversary update is Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. It’s a talking interface that uses smart search technology to communicate with the user, similar to what the Kinect was intended to do. So far, it hasn’t really been perfected, and even the PS4 voice command is still glitchy at times. Not much is known about Cortana on Xbox One, even though it was promised and secretly dropped from previous plans.

Which aspect of the Xbox One Anniversary update are you the most excited about?

[Image via Barone Firenze/]