Moments ago, Microsoft began rolling out the second major update to Windows 10, the operating system that it hopes will put it at the center of everyday activities like gaming and productivity. Key to the gaming part of that mission is a new Xbox on Windows 10 experience that Microsoft just fully detailed in a new blog post.
According to Microsoft, the Xbox experience that is included in the Windows 10 build that Windows Insider Program users are getting right now has just “the basics.” The company also claims on its Xbox Wire news blog that it’ll roll out more features and fixes as the year passes.
Included is everything users needed to get started like a better companion experience for their Xbox One. The Activity Feed is included so that users can get a sense of what their Xbox One friends are earning achievements in and playing in real-time. Speaking of Friends, the core Friends functionality is included so users can follow new gamers and keep up with people they’ve already followed. With the Xbox One, Microsoft rolled out GameClips, an easy way for users to capture video of them playing their favorite titles for sharing. Until now, GameClips were only available on the Xbox website or in the Xbox One SmartGlass app. Users can watch their recorded GameClips with this app now.
Microsoft has spent the last year adding social networking features to its Xbox Live gaming service. The Xbox app for Windows 10 includes a new area where Xbox Live itself suggests gamers users might know. Another add-on, VIPs is available in this new app too. Neither one of these are available on Xbox Ones that don’t belong to users of the Xbox One Preview Program.
There’s a ton of functionality missing right now. At its Windows 10 Media Briefing Microsoft showed off tons of other features. When Windows 10 arrives later this year PC gamers will be able to record video clips and add them to their Xbox Live profile just like they can on the console. Microsoft also said that it was providing full Xbox Live access to developers. This will allow PC developers to put Xbox One players and PC players in the same multiplayer experience. Since announcing that feature Microsoft has confirmed that it’ll be up to developers to add that functionality to games where it makes sense.
Of all the features coming to Xbox on Windows 10, being able to stream games directly from the Xbox One to PC is the most exciting. Users who take advantage of the feature later this year will be able to plug an Xbox One controller into their PC and stream game play, provided their Xbox One and PC are on the same network. Sony offers something like this for PS 4 user, but its version also allows users to stream from their console while not at home. Game makers will be able to enabled or disable gaming streaming to PCs from the Xbox One too.
Xbox has had a Windows app since Windows 8 arrived on store shelves back in 2012. The problem is that it’s never been anything other than a simple way to add friends and browse achievements. The company changed it a little for Windows 8.1, but hadn’t issued a major update since launching the Xbox One back in November of 2013. Today’s version doesn’t include video GameClip playback. There’s no audio messaging either.
Microsoft plans to roll out Windows 10 as a free update to users running Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Presumably, Windows 8 users will need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free before they’re allowed to upgrade.