Microsoft has finally done it. After launching the Xbox One to mostly critical acclaim and a sea of complaints requesting basic features, it’s now formally preparing for the console’s first major update.
It’s one of the few times I can remember Microsoft being so forthcoming about console updates. The company even announced that it plans to follow the February 11th Xbox One update with another in March. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t forthcoming about all the features users can expect when the update begins rolling out next Tuesday.
Here are 5 features I’d like to see in the February 11th Xbox One update.
I didn’t create the Xbox One Dashboard. As such, I know next to nothing about what’s possible in its current form. What I do know is that using the console these past three months has left me wanting more customization features in the Xbox One’s software. I’d like the option to reorder pinned tiles without having to pin everything all over again. I’d also like the option to make some pinned app’s tiles a bit bigger than others. I wouldn’t mind being able to add my own categories to the Xbox One Dashboard’s navigation either.
If all that isn’t possible. I’d settle for being able to customize the background of the Xbox One Home screen following the February 11th update at least.
As it stands now, the Party app on the Xbox One isn’t just bad. It’s downright awful and certainly dragging down opinions of the Xbox One in general. Microsoft says it plans to address the Party app in an Xbox One update in March. Unfortunately, it didn’t say how it will fix the issues users have complained about.
I sincerely hope that whatever changes Microsoft makes to that app include not having to actually open it to all. It should run in the background and never need to be opened at all. Period.
More Integration With SkyDrive
SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, is one of the biggest advantages the Xbox One has. It’s already available on the iPhone, Android, Windows and the web. At any time users can view or manage their documents, videos and pictures.
Today, SkyDrive has an app on the Xbox One that lets people see their files. I’d like to see that SkyDrive app replaced with some native functionality in the Xbox One software itself. For example, wouldn’t it be great if the Xbox One stored game saves on SkyDrive or automatically uploaded game videos to user’s SkyDrive camera roll like Windows Phones and Windows PC do?
Make Gestures More Obvious
If the point of the Xbox One’s included Kinect 2 sensor is to make the console more approachable, then I’d say Microsoft has a bit of work to do. Sure, the console’s speech recognition needs a bit of fining tuning, but Microsoft also needs to add more small tips and tutorials to tell users about what they can do.
A perfect example of this is the way Microsoft changed how users activate gestures from the Xbox 360. I’d bet that there are millions of Xbox One owners who don’t yet know that holding their right or left hand up allows them to navigate most of the Xbox One’s interface without a controller or saying a word. Microsoft has to make these things more obvious, immediately.
Xbox, Sleep in 30 Minutes
Finally, I’d like to see Microsoft add more options for managing the Xbox One’s power state. More specifically, I’d like them to add the ability for users to tell the Xbox One to turn itself off after certain amount of time has passed with a voice command. In my opinion, it’s sorely needed thanks to Microsoft positioning the console as an all-in-one entertainment device.
Today, users can set the Xbox One to turn itself off, but the console has to sit idle for two hours. Even then, apps like TV stop auto shutdown from turning the console off. Having the console stay on overnight isn’t a problem the first time it happens. However over a month that extra power consumption could easily add up. To be clear, I’m not saying turning off your Xbox before falling asleep is too involved, just that I’d like to see more flexibility.
Those are features that I’d like to see. Whether any of these things actually make it to the console is up in the air, but at least users won’t have to wait long to find out what’s included in the update. Microsoft says its first major Xbox One update should arrive on February 11th.