In the days leading up to the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft touted the inclusion of a SkyDrive app on the system. At the time, I compared what was described to what was already available on the Xbox 360 and discovered that Xbox One's SkyDrive functionality wasn't in fact all that improved. And now that I've had a chance to actually use it, I'm thoroughly unimpressed.
The SkyDrive app for Xbox One functions, at a high level, like the SkyDrive apps for Windows 8.x, Windows Phone and other mobile platforms. That is, it provides a way to browse content that you have stored in your SkyDrive storage, as well as items others have shared with you.
But SkyDrive is surprisingly limited on Xbox One, given the power of the console. It doesn't provide you with a way to browse your entire SkyDrive storage, and can't see anything that isn't a photo or video. If you have folders in SkyDrive that are configured for mixed content types—documents and other files in addition to multimedia files—you won't even see them in this app. Instead, you just get two views from the SkyDrive home screen: Photos & Videos and Shared.
In my case, Photos & Videos shows only two folders, SkyDrive Camera Roll and Pictures, because these are the only top-level folders in my SkyDrive that are configured only for photos.) You select on to view its contents, and the options here are extremely limited. You can sort the view in some limited ways, view a non-customizable slide show, and add/remove this view as a "channel" from OneGuide, Xbox One's new content-navigation tool. That's it.
Microsoft touted the ability to access your camera roll from Xbox One because you could go out and take a bunch of photos and then view them on your HDTV that night. That's cool, but it's not very sophisticated. You can't control the slide show in any meaningful way and can't do something like "just view the pictures I took today" (or this week, or this month, or whatever). It's just a dumb slideshow.
You can, however, zoom in and out of individual pictures using the controller's triggers. Big deal, right?
On Windows 8.1, the SkyDrive app can be used to navigate the local file system, local network, and homegroup in addition to SkyDrive, and such a capability on the Xbox One would perhaps let you access digital music, photos or videos on an attached USB hard disk, smart phone, or other device. Nope. It does none of that.
One thing you can do, thankfully, is navigate to the Xbox Game DVR folder in SkyDrive (in Pictures, for some reason) and watch your recorded video game moments. So a video player exists. You just can't use it—today, anyway—to watch any video you want, as you can with the System Video Player on Xbox 360.
One gets the feeling with this app that it was rushed and that more is coming. That is hopefully the case. In its current form SkyDrive for Xbox One is hugely disappointing and quite lackluster.