Microsoft Announces the May Xbox Update(s)

Posted on May 11, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X with 12 Comments

Microsoft is rolling out several new updates across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and the Xbox and Xbox Family Safety apps on mobile.

“Quick Resume is getting even better with improved reliability, faster load times, and a new group that organizes your Quick Resume games in one place,” Microsoft’s Jonathan Hildebrandt explains. “Passthrough audio gives your media apps the best possible listening experience with your external sound system. [And] starting this month, you can approve multiplayer games for your kids by specific title – directly from the console or when using the Xbox Family Settings app on iOS and Android.”

Here’s what’s new.

Quick Resume improvements. The Quick Resume feature on Xbox Series X|S is picking up faster load times and improved reliability with this latest update, which also adds a Quick Resume tag so you can quickly identify games that support it.

Passthrough audio for media apps. Now, your favorite media streaming apps—like Disney+, Apple TV, Plex, Vudu, and more—can sound even better on Xbox Series X|S thanks to a new feature called passthrough audio. This lets these apps bypass the console for the highest-quality listening experience with your external sound system, Microsoft says, but you’ll need compatible HDMI devices and will have to enable it first.

Game trailers with Xbox Game Pass. It’s now faster easier to view spotlight game trailers in the Xbox Game Pass library. Games will play trailers when you focus on them, and you can hear the audio by selecting them.

New Motes dynamic background.  The Xbox Series X|S support dynamic backgrounds, and this month, Microsoft is offering a new pattern called “Motes”.

Multiplayer games approval for kids. Later this month, the Xbox Family Settings app for Android and iOS will support the ability for parents to approve individual multiplayer games for their kids on console.

Xbox app improvements on Android and iOS. The Xbox app on mobile offers a new push notification that lets you know when your favorite friends go online, updated achievements game pages with game stats like “time played,” and improved performance and reliability.

Additionally, Microsoft announced that it is “sunsetting”—that is, “killing”—the Xbox One SmartGlass app for PC starting in June. “This means the SmartGlass app will be removed from the Windows [sic] Store and there will be no further updates for those who have the app already downloaded to their devices,” Hildebrandt says, apparently unaware that it’s been called the Microsoft Store for years. “You can continue to use the Xbox app for Windows 10 PCs to discover and download new games with Xbox Game Pass, see what your friends are playing, and chat with them across PC, mobile, and Xbox consoles.”

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft Announces the May Xbox Update(s)”

  1. will

    While the Home Screen for Xbox is always being updated, I sometimes feel like stuff is moved around so much I find it hard to find things. I honestly liked the tabs across the top more than the scrolling of options down on the home screen. I never really group anything, or goto any of the special "areas" for each game.

    I would like to see better use of the 4K space and allow me to put more stuff on the screen if desired and better, higher quality moving backgrounds with HDR and more depth. I think Sony has done a better job in some ways with the Home Screen and the visual look that it creates.

    • thretosix

      My guess with HDR in the menu might be due to some people using OLED displays. If someone sits at the home screen for whatever reason it would the ideal situation for burn in. It would be nice to have it updating in 4K all the same.

      • will

        Even if they do not use HDR menus, having some more depth and sharpness for the moving backgrounds would be nice. The moving backgrounds are only on the new gen consoles I believe so there is plenty of power to drive them, but its more of the look and style that needs revised.

        • thretosix

          I agree, even if it's when you select something and it uses HDR as an effect. Or if you are using a dynamic background. Static imagery was the only thing I could think of why they might not use it. I'm not against the idea of having HDR in the menus. As you mentioned it definitely needs a 4K upgrade.

    • bettyblue

      I usually get both consoles but I prefer the Xbox platform overall. That said I agree the UI on the Xbox has gone so many crazy changes and was so slow for a long time. On the PS is been super easy, fast and basically the same since at least the PS3 maybe even before.

      I have to search for something like, entering a code because it moves around so much and just for the sake of change.

      • will

        This. It feels like they just change because they have to change. I have seen soooo many surveys from Xbox asking how I like or that feature and I’m honestly just wanting to play games. The store has changed so many times I just give up.

        How can you expect me to give you feedback if your going to change something in 6 months or less because well it “can be improved”?!

        • Paul Thurrott

          Microsoft can't stop asking for feedback and then just doing everything that people ask. I see this from some PC makers too. Guys, sometimes you need to just make the right decision and implement. You can't just try to please everyone.
  2. madthinus

    Great, now there is just two xbox apps left

  3. althalus

    Does Netflix support the new audio passthrough?

    • bettyblue

      Using Netlix on a Xbox is like using a AirCraft carrier to go fishing.

      Most TV's have a built in apps, granted they are usually a tad slow but then you have a whole class of devices like the Apple TV, Firestick, Roku etc that are more inline with being the go to for apps like Netflix.

    • scoob101

      Thats a big ask for an app that cant even support HDR correctly.

  4. IanYates82

    Are we losing anything with the loss of smart glass?

    Didn't some games let you use it as a second way of controlling the game or viewing stuff on screen (eg offering an aerial view of a battlefield)?