Last Friday I shared with you some details about the Xbox One Preview Program that we learned was starting back up again after a hiatus.
Then today we have learned more details about the updates that will begin to arrive on testers consoles starting tonight at approximately 6PM PDT according to Xbox's Mike Ybarra. These updates will introduce a huge list of new features for Microsoft's next generation console that will eventually cumulate in a release expected in July called the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be the second major update to Windows 10 since it was released last July. This update will also be the first and most likely last major release for Windows 10 in 2016.
Although Windows Insiders have been testing builds from the Redstone development branch on their PCs and Mobile devices since late last year, these updates for Xbox One will be the first time users on the console get a peek at what is coming this summer.
These updates for Xbox One will roll out in waves which means not every console will get the updates at the same time so make sure if you get an invite to join the testing that you enroll your console using the Xbox Preview Dashboard. Then all you need to do is wait for the update to roll out to your console.
So what are the key features you can expect from this Anniversary Update on Xbox One?
That is correct Hey, Cortana is coming to the Xbox One console. Initially, she will only be available to users in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Spain.
The biggest plus about this new feature is that Kinect is not required because Cortana will work with headsets and of course with Kinect of you do have it. Of course that concern about Kinect being mandatory to use Cortana has worried a lot of users so this is good news but it does mean some might be heading out to purchase a headset for their console.
The plan is to build out Cortana over time and add to her abilities on the console.
New Game Collection
This feature update is all about making it easier to find your games and start playing. If you have a lot of purchased or available Xbox 360 Backwards Compatible games you will now have an new options under My Games & Apps labeled Ready to install for fast access to that list of games.
Facebook Friend Finder
This is a feature that has been available in the Xbox One app on Windows 10 for sometime and this update will give you the ability to find those social friends while you are on the console as well.
Sharing from Xbox One
As I watched the video about these features this one has the potential to turn some Activity Feeds into very busy places because you can set achievements, clips and screenshots to be automatically shared to your own activity feed.
Of course, that means you friends will see every single one of those on their end as well.
Hopefully, everyone opts into these two feature sparingly and curate their timeline manually to share key activities from their side.
The Xbox app will also see some new capabilities as these new features are tested so be sure to download the Xbox (Beta) app because that is where the new features appear first. After they are tested and ready for general release then the main Xbox app will get them as well. By the way, I run both the regular Xbox app and the Xbox (Beta) on my systems without any conflict at all so they can easily co-exist.
The mobile Xbox app will get new features with this Anniversary Update that tie into Windows 10 based gaming on other devices and with the Xbox One console.
Xbox app and Windows 10 gaming
Edit and share GameDVR clips on any video editor: Create that perfect gaming montage with your favorite video editor with clips you recorded on either Xbox One or your PC. Once you’re finished editing, you’ll be able to upload the clip back to Xbox Live through the Xbox app.
Updated GameDVR management: You can now manage your captures straight from your profile. This new destination allows you to share, start your own uploads, and see progress in the queue.
60 fps game clip recording with the Game bar: Using the new “Very High” video quality setting in the Xbox app, you will be able to record your game clips in up to 60 frames per second (in addition to 30 frames per second) easily, all from the Game bar (Windows + G).
Share to Twitter from Xbox app: In the Xbox app, you’ll be able to share game clips and screenshots from Xbox Live to Twitter through the sharing options on each capture.
Windows Game bar improved full-screen support: One of the most common requests we see for the Windows 10 GameDVR feature is the ability to use the Windows Game bar with more games running in full-screen. We’ve added support for six additional games in full-screen mode with Windows game bar: League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2, Battlefield 4, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and Diablo III. With those games, you can now use Windows + G to bring up the Windows Game bar when the game is running full-screen.
Xbox One and Xbox app
Top PC games show up on Xbox Live: We’re bringing the top PC games like League of Legends and XCOM 2 together with the Xbox Live community. Meaning, your favorite PC games will have their own Game Hubs on Xbox Live. Whether you’re on your PC, Xbox, or mobile phone, you’ll be able to see what PC games your friends are playing, share your own PC gaming clips and screenshots with the community, and message your friends on Xbox Live. On both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, you‘ll also be able to party chat with your friends no matter what they’re doing.
Xbox and Windows Store convergence: We’re starting to combine the best of the Xbox Store and Windows Store to give gamers a single cohesive experience across their devices. 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.
More personal Activity Feed: Being able to choose what’s posted to your Activity Feed across Xbox One and the Xbox app is a big fan-requested feature. With the new settings, you can now decide what will get automatically shared to your feed. You can now also craft the perfect Activity Feed posts. At the top of your Activity Feed, easily access and choose from recently unlocked achievements and captures, preview what your post would look like, and then share your greatest gaming moments.
An interesting sidebar on the merging of the Windows Store between Windows 10 and Xbox One is that nothing was mentioned in the announcement article or the video about Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps being available on the Xbox One console.
That means any of you hoping to have Word, PowerPoint, Excel or your favorite Twitter app on console are likely be waiting a little bit longer for that capability.
As the updates begin to roll out to testers, I am already opted in and ready to try out these new features with a focus on the mobile app side of things and how they are progressing to make sharing data from your console to other channels easier.
What is the one feature you think is missing from this list for the summer updates on Xbox One?