Microsoft is launching one of its most important title updates today, which brings in plenty of new (and overdue) features to Xbox Live subscribers, focusing specifically on Xbox One features. The month of May has brought the revelation that Kinect will be switched to an optional peripheral, the launch of Games with Gold for the next-generation, and now a tide of new items like the option to watch Netflix without a Gold account and much more.
One of the most-requested features was the ability to use external storage, which is something users installing the update will now be able to do. The Xbox One comes with a 500GB internal drive, and will now be able to support up to two different USB 3.0 external storage devices at once. The devices must be 256GB or larger, and the Xbox One will prompt to reformat the drive if this hasn’t been done yet. When the device fills up, the next installation will automatically just go to the next external drive, or the internal drive if there isn’t another external available. With the announcement of this support, we expect in the next update Xbox owners will finally be able to play movies and other media from simple USB thumb drives, a feature which is long overdue – and one which the Xbox 360 has supported for years. Next-gen, right?
For those of you who have friends on Xbox Live (apologies to those who don’t), the update also brings the Real Names feature into the fold. This allows people on your friends list to see you by your actual name instead of your gamertag, which is good for those who have large friends lists and don’t always remember who is who. Players can add a second level to this by allowing ‘friends of friends’ to see your real name, since they’re often people who might recognize gamers by their real name but not by their gamertag. If this isn’t enough customization, players can also manually identify who sees their real name. It’s a nice feature which should make interacting with friends a little bit easier on Xbox Live. Of course, it’s also completely optional.
Smartglass also gets a little smarter, and boasts several new features over the old version of the application. The Activity Feed will now move to the home screen when using smartglass, which lets player’s quickly scroll through their friend’s activity feed to see what’s happening. The Smartglass application can now optionally notify gamers when friends are streaming on Twitch, and a quick touch on their mobile device will bring up that Twitch stream on the television. Users will also be able to re-order the pins on their console via smartglass, allowing them to easily re-arrange their starting screens and get more organized. Adding to this is the ability to see the OneGuide through any smartglass-enabled mobile device, which lets people see what’s playing on television before even looking at the TV. The application can then turn into a full television remote once users start watching television through their Xbox One.
Those playing from the US will also notice more new applications become available. Hulu is preparing to roll out a free three-month trial of the Hulu Plus service to all Xbox One owners over the next coming days, so gamers interested in the popular video-streaming service should keep an eye out.
For icing on the cake, the update finally re-introduces Automatic Sign In to the Xbox One. Gamers can now select a primary account which will automatically sign in when the Xbox turns on, which eliminates the few seconds it takes to manually log in or wait for Kinect to recognize the player – Yet another feature somehow not available at the Xbox One’s launch.
What do you think, Ranters? Are you happy with these updates, or is there still something else you’re waiting for?
Follow John Jacques on Twitter @Makelevi.
Source: Major Nelson