Microsoft announced today that the first wave of Xbox Insider Program members are gaining access to a pre-release version of the Creators Update. This update focuses on performance, people, competition and streaming, Microsoft tells me.
“Starting today, several new Xbox One features that are part of the Creators Update begin rolling out to select Xbox Insider Program members,” a Microsoft representative told me. “These are the first of many features that will enhance your gaming experience and provide more accessibility options on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices. We’ll have a handful of these updates over the coming weeks, and we’ll bring these to more Insiders over time, too.”
Read that carefully and you’ll discover the following:
This isn’t the full Creators Update. More Creators Update features will ship in further updates to Insiders in the coming weeks and then presumably to the general public.
Not everyone is getting it now. If you are on the Xbox Insider Program, you probably still aren’t getting this update yet as it’s only gone out to a limited set of testers. More Insiders will be added over time, as noted.
So. What’s new?
Updated Dashboard. The Xbox One Dashboard is being overhauled yet again, with the aim of making it simpler and faster. The Home view is being updated to surface more information about the games you are playing and care about, and Dashboard will automatically supply hero art for your current game as the background image if you didn’t configure something else.
Improved Xbox Guide. The Xbox Guide is now accessed with one press of the Xbox button on your controller (instead of two, as before), so it works more quickly and reliably. But it’s also been overhauled with a new Start page.
Improved multitasking. The ability to do multiple things at once is one of Xbox One’s key features, and it’s getting better with the Creators Update. Among the new features in that improved Guide is quicker access to multiplayer functionality such as Game DVR, an achievement tracker, and Beam broadcasting. (The latter is coming to Insiders in “the next few weeks.”)
Cortana improvements. Largely ignored because saying “Hey, Cortana” is harder and more tedious than saying “Xbox,” Cortana is nonetheless being updated to support reminders and alarms. And unknown gaming experiences for Cortana, and continued performance and reliability updates are coming soon too.
System update improvements. The interface for system updates is being simplified to help gamers keep up-to-date no matter which power management scheme they choose. (Remember that those who configure Instant-on will get updates silently in the background.)
Accessibility improvements. New accessibility options includes a Copilot feature that allows two controllers to act as if they were one, enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, and more options for controlling audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller.
Audio/video improvements. Developers now have access to Dolby Atmos for Home Theater, Dolby Atmos for Headphones and Windows HRTF support for streaming media apps and games. And the Blu-ray disc player on Xbox One now supports a beta of bitstream passthrough, which allows your receiver to decode audio natively. All bitstream formats are supported, including newer ones like Dolby Atmos, Microsoft says.
More soon. More updates, including Beam, Windows Game Mode, Arena, updates to Cortana and more are coming soon, Microsoft says.