Purchasing the right device is just as much about software as it is about hardware. You want a device that’ll constantly get new upgrades and features, even when it’s not always clear that those new features will have a big impact on the way you use their product. Microsoft has been on a sort of sabbatical with the Xbox One updates lately, taking time to cook up one major update meant to launch alongside the Windows 10 Update for Xbox One. This morning, the company announced it’s rolling out a test version of the Summer Xbox One Update this week.
Microsoft announced the Summer Xbox One Update this morning in a post on its Xbox Wire news blog. It appears to be a renaming of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update for Xbox One that Microsoft talked about previously. It definitely has the same features. The Xbox Store and Windows Store are merging, bringing an end to long lists of the same games in the Xbox Store, easier browsing and filtering by genres. Games will now be subject to user reviews too, which should prove all kinds of interesting.
The Summer Xbox One Update will also add the Cortana personal assistant that the company has promised users since last year. Simply, say, “Hey Cortana” and you can have her start a Party with a friend or perform a search without leaving your game. It’ll work through the Kinect and headsets. The update also refreshes the My Games & Apps area for the first time. The new version has a dedicated area for games and apps that aren’t installed. It scrolls vertically instead of horizontally too. All rejoice in the death of horizontal scrolling. You get to the new My Games & Apps area from a button on the top of Home, not at the bottom, like you do today.
All told, I’m excited about the Summer Xbox One Update. Sure, there’s a lot of refinement here, but that is what the console needs right now. The Xbox Store and My Games and apps area have always been pretty terrible. Now if only we could get some movement on the broadcast television recording the company promised. I wouldn’t say no to background music playback either.
Members of the Preview Program can expect these upgrades to arrive for them in waves, but only if they opted into getting them through the Preview app.