Xbox One Update: Release Date, Backwards Compatibility, Features Everything You Need to Know
On Thursday, a big, much anticipated software update will begin rolling out to Xbox One consoles. Based on the completely redesigned Windows 10 operating system, it promises to make the Xbox One's interface faster, easier to navigate, and will bring backwards compatibility for a slew of Xbox 360 games for the first time.
Here's a rundown of everything you need to know about the Xbox One Windows 10 software reboot.
'New Xbox One Experience'
As Microsoft has hyped on its official Xbox One website, the new software update slated for a Nov. 12 release date promises to introduce "a completely re-imagined Xbox One experience that integrates the speed and versatility of Windows 10."
While the new Xbox One system software is based on the new Windows 10 PC operating system, it doesn't mean you'll be running Excel spreadsheets with your impulse triggers and D-pad. In fact, the "New Xbox One Experience," as Microsoft has taken to call the massive system overhaul, is designed to make the Xbox One more of a gamer's console.
That means faster performance, but also a streamlined user interface that allows you to access a lot of the Xbox One's secondary features without ever leaving a game: The new on-screen guide will pull a panel from the left side of the screen, over your game so you can access party invites, messages, notifications, and friends without pausing the game or exiting full-game mode.
The main menu and other navigational aspects are moving away from the tiled "Metro" design of Windows 7 and Windows 8, towards a more console-friendly design.
Users can quickly jump around the home screen, which has added more vertical sections to tamp down on scrolling horizontally through tile after tile. Pinned games and apps sit right below the main splash, while recently used games and apps are just below your pins.
New home screen controls on the Xbox One controllers enable users to jump from section to section as well: triggers will jump up and down and bumpers quickly scroll through batches of horizontal menu items. Microsoft says gamers will be able to access the most popular features of the Xbox One 50 percent faster, according to GeekWire, which in practical terms means less clicking through menus and more one-click immediate access. Microsoft also boasted that starting a party takes half the time, and joining a party is six times faster with the new system software.
Finally, Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility
Of course the one feature coming with the new Xbox One update that everyone is talking about is backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games.
As Latin Post recently reported, the new backwards compatibility feature will supply the full-featured gaming experience for Xbox 360 games, with no options or modes stripped from titles to make them work on Xbox One. In addition, the Xbox 360 titles will work with Xbox One sharing, so live streaming classic games to services like Twitch is finally an option.
Unlike backwards compatibility on the PlayStation 4, Microsoft won't require gamers to pay anything (re-purchases or a subscription service) to play the titles they already own. Just pop in your Xbox 360 game disk and the Xbox One will verify your ownership, and you can go ahead and install the game. Or if your game was a digital download, you'll be able to simply re-download the title onto your next-generation console.
The downsides to the backwards compatibility update from Microsoft is that games that require special equiptment, like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, won't work with the Xbox One, ever.
And at first, only 104 select Xbox 360 games will be available under the new feature. We have the full list here, but highlights include Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed 2, Metal Slug 3 and XX, Mirror's Edge, Perfect Dark (and PD Zero), Fallout 3, Gears of War and its sequels, and Wolfenstein 3D. Microsoft said it would be adding more titles going forward.
'OneGuide' Not Just a Gaming Update
The update will also completely change how you access video apps and live TV with an updated OneGuide. Much like the new Apple TV software, OneGuide will pull viewing options from all of your video apps, without having to open any of the individual apps first.
The guide will use picture-in-picture of your current video or TV channel while you browse through all of the available apps and services for other options, much like a standard cable channel menu. Unlike cable, OneGuide will include not only video apps, but also live TV channels on the Internet, if you subscribe to Sling TV.
Finally, Microsoft is making the Xbox One a little more social by introducing a new virtual social networking hub it's calling Community. In the Community section, you can see updates from Xbox and comment, like, or share content. It features an Activity Feed so you can keep up on what your friends are playing on their Xbox One consoles.
You can get all of these updated features starting Thursday, Nov. 12. Xbox One gamers, let us know what you think of the new "Xbox One experience" in the comments!
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