Microsoft Delivers the Xbox One Creators Update

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 30 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is rolling out the Xbox One Creators Update, which provides improved Home and Guide experiences, Beam game streaming, and more.

“We’ve released another big update that will begin rolling out to the Xbox One community starting today,” an Xbox representative told me this morning. “With this update, Xbox One gamers will be able to enjoy new features such as the ability to stream your Xbox gameplay directly from the Guide with Beam; utilize the Beam viewing app which lets you watch, chat, and interact with your favorite streamers in near real-time; experience a faster, more intuitive Home and Guide; experience new multitasking scenarios; and manage your family’s gameplay with new screen time limits, updated for today’s digital family.”

Microsoft first revealed the Creators Update for Windows 10 back in October, and it announced today that that upgrade will ship to PCs on April 11. Given that, and the short development time of the Creators Update for Xbox One, I’m a bit surprised that Microsoft is shipping it so quickly. But here it is.

As you may recall, Microsoft first started testing the Xbox One Creators Update with a very limited set of testers back in January. That actually angered many fans, however, because the Xbox Insider Program works quite a bit differently than the open Windows Insider Program, and utilizes a secret graft-based buddy system that leaves most enthusiasts out in the cold. But access to the Creators Update has quietly opened up to more and more testers over time.

And starting today, it’s apparently complete and is available to anyone with an Xbox One console. (Note that these rollouts often take time, so you may not see the update immediately.) Here’s what you can expect:

Updated Home. The Dashboard’s Home screen has gotten a nice visual refresh. The most obvious change is that the most-recently used game or app no longer takes up half the screen. And as with all previously Dashboard updates, Microsoft claims it has made various performance improvements, though I think most of the improvements are really related to UI efficiencies. (Fewer clicks = faster.)

Updated Guide. On that note, the new Guide is allegedly faster too, but that’s really because you can access it in one click (of the Xbox button on your controller) rather than two. Whatever, it works great, and it’s been thoroughly updated with quick access to the options you’ll really need. I like this change quite a bit.

Improved multitasking. Microsoft isn’t really talking up this aspect of the Creators Update, but it has removed the Snap feature from the Dashboard, so you can no longer display two apps side-by-side. Now, you can use new Guide options and, for some apps, a new PIP-style overlay so that you can do two things at once. (I’m a bit surprised Microsoft is glossing over the removal of Snap.)

Beam integration. As with the Creators Update for Windows 10, Microsoft has integrated its Beam streaming service into the Xbox One, providing gamers with an easy way to broadcast their gaming sessions, interact with viewers, find and view other gamers’ streaming, and more. This is a big topic, so I’ll be writing more about this soon.

Copilot. In a bid to reach beginning gamers (read: Nintendo fans), Microsoft has implemented a new controller feature called Copilot that lets two controllers act as one. Meaning, a child could be controlling a game and you could help them with the second controller.

Screen time limits. Microsoft is slowing expanding parental control-like functionality to the console, and with this update you can configure daily time allowance and limits for each of your children, similar to what you can do on PCs.

Exciting stuff. More soon!

 

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