Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Platform Engineering, discusses the next Xbox update releasing to Alpha Ring Insiders starting today. Watch the video and read his comments about the update below:

It’s an exciting day at Team Xbox as Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring will get a first look at the latest Xbox update. This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever. We’ve heard feedback from our fans that they want the ability to customize Home the way they want. This new experience on Xbox One gives gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming this fall. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu. Here’s a detailed look at some of the new features that will arrive for Xbox Insiders starting today and continuing throughout the next few months:

Customize Your Home: The first thing Insiders will notice is the new Home on Xbox One. This update is all about personalization; we’re putting the control in your hands, so that you can decide what to see when you turn on your console. The new look and feel is part of a design system called Microsoft Fluent Design; the look, feel, and movement of the dashboard has been updated to focus on speed, customization and expression—for you. Now, customize your Home screen to be uniquely yours, and view all the things you love at-a-glance. Have a favorite game or friend? Add them to Home!  Select one, press the Menu button on your controller, and select “Add to Home.”  This now creates an entire block of content that can be moved up or down—or removed altogether, should your interests or habits change. These blocks will evolve over time based on the things you like to do. For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title. We’ll be adding additional types of content blocks in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. The team is always pushing to make the Xbox experience faster and faster. In this release, we’ve eliminated the wait between Home, Social, and My Games and Apps by consolidating them into one dashboard experience. No more splash screens means you get to fun even faster.

Effortless Guide Navigation: With this update, it’s faster than ever to switch between tabs in the guide so you can join friends, broadcast, switch between apps, and get back Home. New tab flyouts make it easier to see more content quickly, too. The new Guide layout quickly gets you to the stuff you care about, so you never miss a moment. It’s now even easier to switch between apps or get back to Home, and the new layout will enable you to quickly jump to different tabs using the left thumbstick, d-pad, or bumpers on your controller. Sign-in, Achievements, multiplayer (including parties, Looking for Group, and tournaments), People, Home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures, and a new action center (including settings) each have their own tab in the new Guide.

A More Immersive Community: Staying connected with Friends and Clubs is now better than ever. The community section has an entirely new Activity Feed layout, showing more content at-a-glance.  When looking at feed items in detail, they are presented in an immersive, full-screen view—sharing the experience just as it was captured.  Reading comments is now much easier since the comment window can be expanded to fill the screen. You’ll now be able to skim the feed quickly or lean back on the couch and walk through it in detail – it’s entirely up to you. This makes it easier than ever to stay current with the games and friends you care about. Game Hubs, Profiles, and Clubs are also refreshed to make them more dynamic and engaging than ever before.  We’re also making Improvements to Club discovery, to quickly display which Clubs you’re already a part of, and easily discover new Clubs to join.  There will also be new titles that will be coming to Arena over the next few months, soon offering even more options for tournaments powered by Xbox Live.

Game Bar Gets Even Better: On Windows 10, we’re making it easier than ever to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis by putting a switch directly in the Game bar. Mixer broadcasting with the Game bar will now give you more choices on the audio you broadcast; a new settings option will let you choose to broadcast game-only audio, or system-wide audio.  We’ve also added a new Xbox Live Network Troubleshooting option to the Settings menu in Windows 10, which will help you track down connectivity issues and optimize your online multiplayer experience.

This is just the beginning of some major updates arriving for Xbox gamers later this year.  We’ll be introducing plenty of new features in the coming months across Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Mixer, and mobile devices designed to make your gaming experiences all about you. As always, we owe some big thanks for all the fan feedback we receive and review from gamers everywhere, as well as to the invaluable members of our Xbox Insider Program for all the feedback they provide regularly. We’ll be sharing more when the update releases to more fans later this year. The team has worked hard, and we hope you enjoy these latest updates to your Xbox One experience! And of course, don’t forget to tell us what you think.

Mike Ybarra, Head of Platform Engineering discusses new features coming to the broader Xbox One community starting today. Read the details below:


We’re excited to announce that we are shipping new features to the broader Xbox One community today. This is a big release, and includes Beam streaming, an updated Xbox experience with the new Guide, home improvements, and much more. One major goal for this release is to make streaming your Xbox gameplay even easier. And by updating the navigation of the Xbox console through the new Guide, we’re aiming to put the features and experiences you love the most right at your fingertips. For our PC gamers, or anybody who loves to create and play, check out this post on the Windows Blog to learn about the gaming updates coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update on April 11.

Here’s a detailed look at some of the top new Xbox Live features rolling out to Xbox One today, which we announced and released to Xbox Insider earlier this year:

*An updated look at Home: One of the first things you’ll notice with this update is a new look for Home on Xbox One. We made these changes to simplify the UI and increase overall system performance. To do that, we’ve optimized for speed and are prioritizing the most valuable content for your games. Now, you’ll see a smaller icon for the game with options to dive deeper into the community surrounding the game, as well as the ability to interact with your Club or find Looking for Group posts, view your Achievements and more. If you do not have a custom background set, you’ll see that the updated Home also spotlights the game you’re currently playing by featuring hero art as your Xbox background.

*Faster and more intuitive Guide: The next thing you’re likely to notice is that the Guide has been updated. With one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you can now pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen. No matter what you’re doing, the new Guide experience puts the features and functionality that you use the most right at your fingertips. The first page of the Guide is designed to get you to the content you care about most, including your Games and Apps, Home, Store, your recently launched applications, the latest Games and Deals with Gold for Xbox Live Gold members, and your top Pins. If you have music playing in the background from any number of apps, you can access the controls directly from the Guide, enabling you to control play, pause, rewind, fast forward, and manage volume controls. Finally, you’ll be able to capture screenshots and record video with a simple press of a button. And in the GameDVR menu, you now have easier access to capture gameplay and to modify your options – when recording, you’ll see in the menu overlay that it lasts up to 5 minutes and within the Guide, you can also ‘Record this’ for up to 10 minutes.

*New way to multitask: In addition to adding a new start page to Guide, we’re also evolving the way gamers multitask on Xbox One. To simplify discoverability and to make it easier to get to the things you care about most, our multitasking features were designed with the new Guide in mind. We’ve added a new achievement tracker that is active based on the game you’re playing, and allows you to select and follow multiple achievements in an overlay, all while you’re playing. Cortana will also appear as an overlay on your screen, allowing you to set reminders and alarms, access Party controls, and play music with simple voice controls.

*Watch, chat and interact with Beam on Xbox One: now stream your Xbox gameplay directly from the Guide on your Xbox One, with the ability to manage your Beam broadcasts and interact with fellow gamers on chat overlays that appear on your screen. If you’ve never tried to broadcast your gameplay before, this is the easiest way to get started as you don’t have to download any extra software – Beam broadcasting is built right into your Xbox One. Once you start streaming, Beam makes it easy to connect and engage with your viewers no matter where they are. You’ll also find the new Beam viewing app in My Games and Apps, which lets you watch, chat, and interact with your favorite game streamers in near real-time. To learn more, check out our Beam article.

*Enabling Xbox One to be more accessible for everyone: We felt it was important to enable Xbox One to make gaming experiences more accessible. Take for instance our new Copilot feature, which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to gamers who can benefit from playing along with another person, more fun for families by adding cooperative controls for any game, and easier for players who need unique configurations to play. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings > Ease of Access.

*Screen time limits (Xbox One):As we strive to offer the most comprehensive and customizable family features possible, we want gamers of all ages to feel safe and secure when using our platforms. That’s why we’re bringing the family timer feature to Xbox One as screen time limits, updated for today’s digital family. Parents familiar with screen time limits for Windows 10 will find a similar set of controls for Xbox One. Set daily time allowance and limits for each child—your Xbox One will pick those limits up and enforce them whenever the child is signed in. To set up screen time limits, head over to microsoft.com/family, sign in with your parent account, and select “Screen time” for your child’s account. You’ll be able to turn on and set Xbox One and PC screen time limits separately for each child.

*Blu-ray player bitstream passthrough: The Blu-ray disc player on Xbox One now supports bitstream passthrough, which allows your receiver to decode audio natively. All bitstream formats are supported, including newer ones like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. This feature will light up later next week.

Over the past few months, we have been targeting hundreds of improvements across the board. Many thanks to the feedback from the members of our Xbox Insider Program. Be sure to keep letting us know what you think at Xbox feedback. As we’ve said, this is just the beginning – be on the lookout for more great features. The team has worked hard and we hope you enjoy the updates to your Xbox One experience! And don’t forget that there are also great PC gaming updates coming as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update on April 11 (for more information on the Windows 10 Creators Update, check out this post from Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group).

 

Today, we’re beginning to ship the first wave of Xbox One features for the Creators Update to the Xbox Insider Program members. As Mike Ybarra shared last week, the Creators Update is packed full of new features for gamers who play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs – in fact, we’re targeting hundreds of improvements across the board, noticeable by gamers and under the hood. Today’s update will start rolling out to a small subset of gamers, with the rest of the Xbox Insider Program receiving these features in the coming weeks.

For gamers, the Creators Update is about performance, people, competition and streaming – getting you to the things you care about most as quickly as possible. Today, that will mean a faster Xbox One experience than ever before, connecting you with the applications, games, and of course, friends, that you enjoy most. Check out the updated Home and learn how the newly-designed Guide works and is meant to simplify your experience. There’s lots more, too. As part of our commitment to enhancing gaming for everyone, we’re opening up new accessibility options to ensure great experiences for all gamers when playing on Xbox.

Here’s a look at the new features reaching Xbox Insiders today: 

updated-home_xbox-one

  • An updated look at Home: One of the first things you’ll notice is a new look for Home. Through the Insider program, we’ve received feedback from Xbox One gamers that the UI can be complex and for certain tasks, can require too many button presses. Our goal is to simplify the UI and increase overall system performance, and that starts with updating Home based on what you care most about for the games you play. To do that, we’ve optimized for speed and are surfacing to you the most valuable content for your games. You’ll notice the main tile for what you’re currently playing has changed. Now, you’ll see a smaller icon for the game and a few options to dive deeper into the Game Hub, interact with your Club or LFG for that game, view your Achievements, and more. The updated Home also celebrates the game you’re currently playing with hero art in the background when you’re not using a custom background. 

updated-guide_xbox-one

  • Faster and more intuitive Guide: The next thing you’re likely to notice is that Guide has been updated. With one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you can pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen, no matter what you’re doing. With the Guide, we’ve added new features and functionality. You’ll notice that there’s a new start page. This page is designed to get you to the content you care about most, including your games and apps, Home, Store, your recently played games and apps, and your top Pins. It also features quick access to your media controls when playing background music.

achievement_xbox-one

  • New way to multitask: In addition to adding a new start page to Guide, we’re also evolving our multitasking system. To simplify discoverability and to make it much quicker to get to the things you care about most, our multitasking features will also be designed to work well with the new Guide. In addition to quick access to music, screen shots and GameDVR will be one button press away. You can bring up Guide and press “X” or “Y” on your controller to record your favorite gaming moments. We’ve also added a new achievement tracker which allows you to track your favorite achievements and play at the same time. The new Guide is also where you will be able to broadcast instantly to Beam when we roll that out to Insiders in the next couple of weeks.

cortana_xbox-one

  • Cortana gaming enhancements: There are a series of new Cortana updates to make your Xbox One smarter. In this update, you can set reminders and alarms so you don’t miss gaming sessions. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing more Cortana updates to enhance your gaming experience even more as well as continued performance and reliability updates.

system-update_xbox-one

  • Improving system updates: Our goal with system updates is that you never have to worry about them again, and to make it clearer when a system update is available. To enable this we are updating the interface so the steps are easy to understand. We’re also going to enable every Xbox One owner to keep their console, games, and apps up to date independent of which power mode they have chosen. 

ease-of-access-settings_xbox-one

  • Enabling Xbox One to be accessible for everyone: One important area for us with this release is to enable Xbox One to be able to be used and played by everyone. Take for instance our new Copilot feature which allows two controllers to act as if they were one. This will help make Xbox One more inviting to new gamers needing assistance, more fun by adding cooperative controls for any game, and easier for players who need unique configurations to play — whether that is with hands apart, hand and chin, hand and foot, etc.. We are also adding new enhancements to Magnifier and Narrator, as well as giving more options over audio output and custom rumble settings on a controller, which was previously reserved for the Xbox Elite Controller. You can find these accessibility options, and more, in Settings > Ease of Access.
  • New spatial audio output settings for developers: To enable more immersive experiences for Xbox One, we have added a number of audio output features in Settings. If you are a developer on Xbox One, the new settings will allow you to add Dolby Atmos for Home Theater, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Windows HRTF support to your streaming media application or game. For Xbox One owners, hang tight and soon you’ll be able experience even more incredible audio on your console.
  • Blu-ray player bitstream passthrough beta: 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.

This is the first series of updates, and there’s more to come. Beam, Windows Game Mode, Arena, updates to Cortana, and plenty more are on the way. Thank you to gamers and Xbox fans near and far, for your continued support—and above all else—for sharing your thoughts and feedback that enables all of us at Xbox to continue giving back.