Microsoft Brings FastStart, Game Grouping, More With Xbox’s July Update

Posted on July 5, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Games, Xbox One with 7 Comments

Microsoft is today releasing the July update for its Xbox One consoles. The company has been testing the new update with Xbox Insiders for week, but it’s now rolling out to all Xbox One owners.

Xbox’s July update brings a bunch of handy improvements. The update introduces FastStart, a new tech that will let you start playing new games quickly. Instead of waiting for the entire game to download, FastStart allows you to start playing the game as soon as possible by prioritzing the download of files and assets that are needed to begin playing. This way, you don’t have to wait for the entire game to download to start playing it, which is very helpful if you don’t have a very speedy internet connection. Not all games will be FastStart enabled by default — but Microsoft says it is now enabled for select Xbox Game Pass titles, and it will come to more games in the near-future.

Microsoft is also introducing the ability to group games and apps, which essentially allows you to make collections or folders of your games to make your collection more organized and easier to search. The system-wide search feature is also now more accessible, with the new Y shortcut whenever you are in the dashboard.

Xbox’s July update improvements Mixer broadcasting too, with improvements to Mixer’s Share Controller feature and support for full mouse and keyboard for PC users. You can now broadcast your webcam in full screen from your Xbox, and the quality and performance of broadcasts have also been improved in Mixer, according to Microsoft.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Microsoft Brings FastStart, Game Grouping, More With Xbox’s July Update”

  1. jprestig

    Hooray for Groups!

  2. Skolvikings

    PS4 has had an equivalent to FastStart for quite awhile now. Similar to how it will work for the Xbox, devs have to add support for it. It is nice though for the games that support it. You might only have to download 5 GB of the full 30 GB (or whatever) to begin play. However, if you progress too quickly in the game and your download isn't going very fast, you can run into a situation where you can't progress any further because the game hasn't finished downloading yet. I had that happen once.

    PS4 also added the ability to group games/apps into Folders sometime last year I believe.

    Honestly, just an offhand remark, but many here seem to think Xbox does everything first and wins all the technical comparisons, and that PS4 is popular for other reasons. But the PS4 platform does have it's pros and it does have it's firsts. That said, use the system you prefer. There's no right/wrong, despite that many will try to say otherwise. :)

    • David

      In reply to Skolvikings:


      Xbox has actually had a feature called "Ready to Start" for a long time - I think it may have been there since day 1, if I recall. This is the feature which is similar to what the PS4 has. It requires developers to support it and they typically might "chunk" up their game so that, for example, the first level downloads first (allowing you to play it) while the rest of the game past the first level downloads in the background. If you get to the end of the first level and the rest of the game hasn't completed, you get an in game message that you have to wait for the rest of the game to download. As it is a developer enabled feature, many don't bother with it at all and it is an inconsistent experience as each developer may choose to do something different.

      FastStart is completely different to this. FastStart does NOT require developers to do anything at all - this is purely a technology that Microsoft is introducing at the back-end. They are performing some kind of analysis of the game and how it runs and using this analysis to determine which files are needed first etc. They describe it as an AI analysis but that is probably just marketing rubbish. :)

      Anyway, the point being that this is a process that Microsoft will perform over time on each game and as they do so, that particular game will be enabled for FastStart. It does not require developers to do anything and should be a consistent experience across the entire Xbox library (eventually). The idea is that games will just start faster and stream in as needed over time. I think if you actually hit a file that is needed, the game may lag a little bit as it downloads in - this is why they require a minimum Internet speed (I think 20Mbit) for the technology to work. It's more like streaming I guess. Possibly a bit like the "Click-to-Run" technology that Office 365 Home Premium uses for the on-prem installer of Office.



      • Skolvikings

        In reply to David:

        Thanks for the excellent response and clarification. Information I read had indicated developers would need to support this. Apparently that information was incorrect.

  3. dontbe evil

    " The update introduces faststart, a new tech that will let you start playing new games quickly. Instead of waiting for the entire game to download,"

    wrong, it's always been like this, you never had to finish to download all the game to start to play, faststart it's a further improvement

    • Richicoder

      In reply to dontbe_evil:

      Yup, this. FastStart is just a smarter, "AI" and stats driven version rather than the purely guesswork manual process that devs normally do.

      I can definitely see why Microsoft is pushing it too, especially for Game Pass games. Makes compulsively grabbing games and playing them much easier.

  4. spacein_vader

    Steam has had groups for yonks, not seen a pc game that does the fast start thing though, that could be handy.