Microsoft said when it first announced Windows 10 that it was changing the way it planned to do things going forward. The company hoped that it would make the process of creating updates and getting those updates out to users more fluid and free-flowing. There’s already proof that’s exactly what’s happening. Last year Microsoft moved the Xbox One to Windows 10. Already the company is preparing to release the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update.
The coming Xbox update’s name might be clunky, but Microsoft is hoping that the interface and experience provided in the update won’t be. Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update will add new ways to multitask so that players don’t get disoriented when they want to manage Twitch streaming or watch television. Also thrown into the mix is the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update’s biggest change: an all-new Xbox Guide that allows users to get to settings and games with as little effort as possible.
Microsoft expects to make the Windows 10 Creators Update available to Windows 10 users sometime this spring. When the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update arrives for everyone is unclear though. Here’s the features that we already know it will include at launch.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: New Home Screen
The first thing that users will notice has changed in the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update is the home experience. Since even before the Xbox One received Windows 10, this screen has been dominated by a large rectangle indicating what app you last used or what app or game you’re currently using. In the version of the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update that Microsoft made available to users recently, this is gone completely.
That area now just has a small app or game icon, with the rest of the Recently Opened list taking up most of the screen real estate that the old rectangle vacated. Microsoft says that it has streamlined this and taken away another feature to speed up the console and make way for coming upgrades.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: Improved Sound
Spatial audio is another feature added with the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update. Right now, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Home Theatre and Windows HRT are just options. Developers still must make them available in their apps.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: The New Xbox Guide
Microsoft introduced the Xbox Guide after the launch of the Xbox One because users found it way too complicated and time-consuming to do certain tasks. On today’s Xbox One software, double-pressing the Xbox logo on your controller brings up the Guide. There you can manage your headphone settings, see what your friends are up too, send messages and glance at your notifications.
The new Xbox Guide is similar to the old one, but it’s an overlay on your screen. Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update users get a start page filled with quick links to pinned games and the Store. A flip switch allows for users to keep an Achievement overlay on their game. Microsoft also says that Beam streaming will be integrated from here, but that won’t happen for a few weeks.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: Snap is Gone
It turns out that streamlining performance of the Xbox One’s software will come at a cost. Microsoft says that it’s killed app snapping entirely, meaning users can no longer play a video game and watch television at the same time.
To be clear, app snapping of any kind is gone. Luckily, listening to music no longer requires app snapping, otherwise this would be an even bigger loss than it already is.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: More Accessibility
Custom rumble settings and enhanced button mapping that was previously only available to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller are now available for everyone with the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update. Also included is a new feature Microsoft is calling CoPilot. Thanks to CoPilot, two Xbox Wireless Controllers can act as one.
This work is consistent with Microsoft’s heavy investment on making its entire ecosystem more accessible to everyone. Windows 10 for notebooks, desktops and tablets includes some work to improve accessibility.
Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update: Cortana
After the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update, the Cortana personal assistant can set reminders and alarms, two things that were already available in Cortana on other Windows 10 devices.
To be clear, these aren’t all the features coming in the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update. These are just the upgrades the company looked to get feedback on first. Other waves are coming, some containing things that we already know about. Live Beam streaming is still on the way, plus Arena tournament setup and more commands for Cortana.
The Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update doesn’t have a release date yet, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to wait. The Xbox Preview Program that Microsoft uses to tease updates early is still around. Now called the Xbox Insider Program, those that have provided the most feedback are getting access to the update immediately.
When the Xbox One Windows 10 Creators Update is finished, it’ll roll out to everyone with an Xbox One or Xbox One S free of charge. Some form of it will also make its way to the Project Scorpio console that Microsoft plans to launch late in 2017, we expect.