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March Xbox One Update

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If you own an Xbox, and have switched it on in the last day or two, you might have noticed a rather substantial update (just under 1GB). The biggest system update since 2013. So what can we expect to see as a result? Well according to Microsoft spokesperson, Peter Orullian, we need to get ready for a lot of new features…


Faster Home Menu:

The active game tile now just shows an icon instead of a thumbnail of the live game, freeing up a ton of system resources: "So by taking those resources back, we were able to make our menus snappier – like when I did the Guide button how quickly it would respond – other menu items, launching of apps, the whole thing just became way [better performing] because we use all the resources now for UI elements versus running the emulator," Orullian explained.

There are also the usual design tweaks, and now if you don't have a custom background set, it will change to reflect the game you're playing.

Achievement Tracker Customization:

The in-game Guide got a big overhaul and that's obvious in the customizable Achievement Tracker. The guide will automatically show you the achievements available in the game you're currently playing as well as progress bars for goals you're currently working toward. You can set certain Achievements as favourites, and even change the tracker's size, position, and transparency so you can keep it on-screen as you play the game without it being too distracting.

Cortana Accesses Your Overlay:

The Creators Update has several other multitasking-friendly features for the Guide, including in-game Cortana support. The voice assistant can now appear as part of the overlay, letting you access handy tools like alarms, party controls, or music just by talking to your system. It has more readily accessible controls for your background music, too.


Beam Broadcasting:

Beam is basically Twitch, but faster and built from the ground up with viewer interactions in mind. While there might be a 10 or 20 second delay between the streamer and viewer on Twitch, Beam has "sub-second latency." This, and back-end technology meant to be easily integrated into Xbox games, opens the door for more direct viewer engagement. Orullian offered an example: "We’ve seen these in Minecraft, where the streamer introduces a button to trigger the population of enemies into the server for the streamer to play. So now they’re really interacting in a unique way."

You can use Beam to broadcast from your Xbox One as soon as you get the update. Just pull up the Guide, select the Beam icon and choose "Broadcast your Game". You can also watch via the pre-installed Xbox One app or by going to beam.pro on your browser. If you're more into pre-recorded stuff, there's also now a 10-minute time limit for manual video recording, up from the old 5 minute limit.


Faster Access to and More Control of Screenshots and Video Recording:

Game capture is faster than ever with only a single Home button press required (instead of the sometimes unsuccessful double tap). From here you can also now select the Game DVR option and choose to record up to the last 5 minutes, or select a “record this” function to start capturing footage. This means more love for all gamers keen to share their favourite moments.


More Accessibility Options:

While there have been some improvements to narrator and magnifier, there is the new feature called “Copilot”. Copilot allows you to split one player's controls across two controllers, which could be useful for two players cooperating or for making non-traditional controller setups work better for players with disabilities. For the parents out there, there is also a new feature which allows you to set screen time limits and which hours of the day and night access is allowed.


With all these changes, Microsoft is picking up some nice momentum in the lead up to Scorpio’s impending release.

-Rem




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