First big update to Xbox One brings Cortana, revamped game collection, and much more

Laurent Giret

Xbox One

A few days after Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra teased a new Xbox One preview build for the members of the Xbox One Preview program, today a new blog post from Xbox Live’s Major Nelson finally reveals all the features that will soon be introduced on Microsoft’s gaming console. The preview build is expected to be available this week to Xbox Preview members, but Major Nelson explains that “new features will rollout to the Preview audience in waves.” Furthermore, an opt-in program will let fans choose how they want to participate and help the Xbox team gather feedback those new features before the public release later in the summer.

This preview update will finally bring Cortana to the Xbox One as well as a redesigned game collection, an improved Windows Store, a more personal activity feed with a better sharing feature and an easier way to add friends from Facebook. Please find all the details below.

Cortana on Xbox One

Cortana is coming to Preview in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain first, and gamers can expect the familiar Cortana experience found on other Windows 10 devices. Cortana voice commands on Xbox One will work with both headsets and Kinect. You’ll be able to use Cortana to find great new games, see what your friends are up to, start a party, accomplish common tasks, turn on your Xbox One if you’re using Kinect, and more. We’ll continue to build Cortana features over time and our vision is to use Cortana to help elevate your experience as your personal digital assistant for gaming. Just say “Hey Cortana” or launch the app to get started!

New Game Collection

We’re updating the Game Collection interface to make it faster and easier to find and launch the games you’re looking for. Now you’ll be able to see more of your Game Collection, quickly access your own ‘Ready to Install’ tab, and get more information about titles in your queue.

Facebook Friend Finder on Xbox One:

Facebook Friend Finder is expanding from the Xbox app to Xbox One and is a great way to find and add your Facebook friends on Xbox. As more gamers link their Facebook and Xbox Live accounts, you’ll start seeing more suggestions for Facebook friends to add and game with on Xbox Live.

Improved sharing on Xbox One

We’ve made it easier to share your screenshots, GameDVR clips, and achievements on Xbox One. Gamers can now share their most epic clips and captures with the community in fewer steps.

Xbox and Windows Store convergence:

We’re starting to combine the best of the Xbox Store and Windows Store to give gamers a single cohesive experience across their devices. On Xbox One, we’ve streamlined the shopping experience to help you find the games you love faster and at the best prices. You’ll be able to filter, browse and search results by genre, read reviews written by fellow gamers – including those voted “most helpful” by the Xbox Live community, easily recognize what titles are on sale with strikethrough pricing in lists, and more. We’ve also added several new channels to help you discover the content you love even faster. On the Windows Store, we’re adding support so gamers can browse and purchase bundles, episodic games, season passes, virtual currency and other game add-ons and DLC.

More personal Activity Feed:

Being able to choose what’s posted to your Activity Feed across Xbox One and the Xbox app is a big fan-requested feature. With the new settings, you can now decide what will get automatically shared to your feed. You can now also craft the perfect Activity Feed posts. At the top of your Activity Feed, easily access and choose from recently unlocked achievements and captures, preview what your post would look like, and then share your greatest gaming moments.

Additionally, Major Nelson has confirmed today that Microsoft will be merging the the Windows Insider program with the Xbox One Preview program “to streamline feedback and updates.” The Xbox exec adds that “in just this past year, we’ve released more than 200 new features inspired by fan feedback on Xbox One through our regular updates and the New Xbox One Experience”, and it’s definitely great to see the company iterating so fast on the Xbox system software.