Microsoft released the first wave of the “Creators Update” to those in the Xbox Insider program, and there’s quite a few really cool features, but those of us who aren’t in the Xbox Insider program will have to wait until Spring to experience it first hand.
The update will improve accessibility with changes to Home, which will make it considerably easier to find what you’re looking for. The Guide has also been improved, but perhaps the most important update is the new “Copilot” feature. This will allow two controllers to act as a single one, making it easy for parents to coach their kids and even more importantly, it will help those among us who need special configurations in-order to play.
Here’s a detailed look on what the update will be bringing:
- An updated look at Home: One of the first things you’ll notice is a new look for Home. Through the Insider program, we’ve received feedback from Xbox One gamers that the UI can be complex and for certain tasks, can require too many button presses. Our goal is to simplify the UI and increase overall system performance, and that starts with updating Home based on what you care most about for the games you play. To do that, we’ve optimized for speed and are surfacing to you the most valuable content for your games. You’ll notice the main tile for what you’re currently playing has changed. Now, you’ll see a smaller icon for the game and a few options to dive deeper into the Game Hub, interact with your Club or LFG for that game, view your Achievements, and more. The updated Home also celebrates the game you’re currently playing with hero art in the background when you’re not using a custom background.
- Faster and more intuitive Guide: The next thing you’re likely to notice is that Guide has been updated. With one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you can pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen, no matter what you’re doing. With the Guide, we’ve added new features and functionality. You’ll notice that there’s a new start page. This page is designed to get you to the content you care about most, including your games and apps, Home, Store, your recently played games and apps, and your top Pins. It also features quick access to your media controls when playing background music.
- New way to multitask: In addition to adding a new start page to Guide, we’re also evolving our multitasking system. To simplify discoverability and to make it much quicker to get to the things you care about most, our multitasking features will also be designed to work well with the new Guide. In addition to quick access to music, screen shots and GameDVR will be one button press away. You can bring up Guide and press “X” or “Y” on your controller to record your favorite gaming moments. We’ve also added a new achievement tracker which allows you to track your favorite achievements and play at the same time. The new Guide is also where you will be able to broadcast instantly to Beam when we roll that out to Insiders in the next couple of weeks.
- Cortana gaming enhancements: There are a series of new Cortana updates to make your Xbox One smarter. In this update, you can set reminders and alarms so you don’t miss gaming sessions. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing more Cortana updates to enhance your gaming experience even more as well as continued performance and reliability updates.
- Improving system updates: Our goal with system updates is that you never have to worry about them again, and to make it clearer when a system update is available. To enable this we are updating the interface so the steps are easy to understand. We’re also going to enable every Xbox One owner to keep their console, games, and apps up to date independent of which power mode they have chosen.
- Enabling Xbox One to be accessible for everyone: One important area for us with this release is to enable Xbox One to be able to be used and played by everyone. Take for instance our new Copilot feature which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to new gamers needing assistance, more fun by adding cooperative controls for any game, and easier for players who need unique configurations to play — whether that is with hands apart, hand and chin, hand and foot, etc.. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings > Ease of Access.
- New spatial audio output settings for developers: To enable more immersive experiences for Xbox One, we have added a number of audio output features in Settings. If you are a developer on Xbox One, the new settings will allow you to add Dolby Atmos for Home Theater, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Windows HRTF support to your streaming media application or game. For Xbox One owners, hang tight and soon you’ll be able experience even more incredible audio on your console.
- Blu-ray player bitstream passthrough beta: The Blu-ray disc player on Xbox One now supports a beta of bitstream passthrough, which allows your receiver to decode audio natively. All bitstream formats are supported, including newer ones like Dolby Atmos.
The features I’m most looking forward too are the Copilot addition, and the UI’s simplification but all in all, this is a pretty great update for the Xbox One.
If you want to watch a summarized video on what this update will bring you can see the preview that Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, and Scott Henson from the Xbox engineering team put up on the Xbox YouTube channel.