It seems performance enhancements are coming to Microsoft's Windows 10 and Xbox One platforms via the forthcoming Creators Update. Mike Ybarra, Microsoft's Partner Director of Program Management at the Xbox Division, took to the Xbox blog on January 13 to write-up a lengthy post about the new features coming to both Windows 10 and Xbox One. "2017 is going to be a monumental year for gaming at Microsoft," Ybarra wrote. "Whether you play on Xbox One, a Windows 10 PC, your mobile phone, or anywhere you sign-in with Xbox Live, we're going to make your gaming experiences easier, more social, and better with innovative hardware and software features throughout the year."
Ybarra states Xbox is targeting four key themes in 2017: "Streaming, Performance, People, and Competition." According to the blog post, Microsoft intends to "make it easier to stream than ever before, by making Beam a feature on Xbox One and Windows 10," "improve the performance of your PC games through the all new Windows Game Mode, "[and release] Arena on Xbox Live, where you can play in organized tournaments or create your own, making eSports available for everyone." If this holds true, Microsoft seems to be better apt to compete against Twitch, the live-streaming behemoth that is incorporated in just about every platform already.
StreamingIt seems Beam will connect to your Xbox Live account seamlessly, allegedly eliminating the steps necessary to stream on Xbox without using Twitch. As Ybarra claims, no additional software is needed, and viewers any and everywhere will be able to watch and interact with you while you broadcast.
PerformanceThrough the Creators Update, Xbox is introducing Game Mode. The purpose of Game Made, Ybarra purports, is to "optimize your Windows 10 PC for increased performance in gaming." If your part of Microsoft Insiders, their exclusive preview program a la Xbox One's Preview Program, features for Game Mode will start rolling out sometime this week, with Game Mode being fully operational shortly.
Furthermore, it seems an update is coming to the Xbox One will launch a new Guide, allowing for common tasks such as multitasking to be completed easier. There's no exact preview of how this will operate, but the blog post does its best to outline the steps in which Guide will function.
PeopleIt sounds as though as Xbox Live's Activity Feed will take a more social network approach, allowing you to easily connect, interact, and share with your friends. Moreover, Xbox is adding improvements to Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) to make setting up and moderating tournaments and share LFG posts to your feed simpler.
CompetitionA new Arena feature is coming to Xbox Live, allowing professional tournament organizers like ESL (formally Electronic Sports League) and FACEIT to start and broadcast tournaments quicker and easier. Wargaming's World of Tanks and Microsoft Studios' Killer Instinct are the first two games to receive updates to allow you to create Arena tournaments. Once the tournament is created, organizers can invite friends to watch or participate in the bouts, and when it's over the results are automatically recorded so you can share them on Xbox Live and other social networks. It can be assumed there are a plethora of other titles getting this update, but Xbox hasn't announced these yet.
Beam, the Seattle-based live-streaming video platform, was acquired by Microsoft back in August of last year for an undisclosed dollar amount. It wasn't until two months later Microsoft announced Beam's integration into its operating system, Windows 10, during a Windows 10 event on October 26 at the Spring Studios in New York. Even though the acquisition happened months in advance, the service didn't fully launch until earlier in January of this year, hoping to compete against video streaming giant Twitch.
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[Featured Image by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Xbox]