Microsoft’s biggest Xbox One update yet brings Cortana and more Windows 10 integration

Microsoft has been messing with the Xbox One’s user interface ever since it was released nearly 3 years ago, but this latest update could be the biggest yet. Over the next few weeks Microsoft is rolling out an update that’ll include Cortana and increased integration with Windows 10. Its aim? To lay the groundwork for a bigger union between your Xbox and PC in the future. Microsoft says the features will come to selected ‘preview’ users in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain first, and after that they’ll be refined and rolled out to the rest of the community.

Microsoft's biggest Xbox One update yet brings Cortana and more Windows 10 integration

Cortana comes to the Xbox One

The Xbox One already comes with good voice activation software, but Microsoft is ditching it for Cortana. Microsoft says its digital assistant will be coming to preview users over the next few weeks, and should offer an almost identical experience to the Cortana you’d find on other Windows 10 devices. As you’d expect, Cortana will work on headsets and Kinect, and you’ll be able to use all the same commands, so you can turn your Xbox One on via voice, and now even create parties with Cortana. The main difference? You’ll be saying “Hey Cortana,” instead of “Xbox.”

Increased Windows 10 integration

The new update will also make your Xbox One play nicer with your Windows 10 PC – and a lot of that hinges on a new Xbox app for the PC. The Xbox app will essentially connect your PC to the rest of your Xbox content, so you’ll be able to edit and share GameDVR clips on any video editor – PC or Xbox, and then upload them to Xbox Live via the Xbox app.

Other updates include a brand new Games view, the ability to record gameplay at 60fps, and new sharing capability that makes it easier to share clips and achievements via Twitter. Lastly, Microsoft says a new friend finder will make it easier to add your real mates via Xbox Live.

Xbox and Windows store convergence

One of the most interesting changes is the decision to display Xbox One games together with PC games. Microsoft says your favorite PC games will have their own Game Hubs on Xbox Live, so you’ll be able to include your PC gaming along with your Xbox gaming. As you’d expect gamers will be able to party chat with friends regardless of the platform they’re on.

In the same way, the Xbox One and Windows Store are also starting to converge, so you’ll have the same retail experience whether you’re looking for an Xbox One game or a PC one.

Microsoft playing to its strength

Like it or not, Sony is winning the console war at the moment, but Microsoft’s new direction represents a great way to fight back. Rather than going after Sony’s strengths Microsoft is using its huge PC user base to strengthen the Xbox One’s appeal. If you’ve already got a PC, you now have one more reason to buy an Xbox One. The only question is, if you’re a serious PC gamer, why would you even have a console in the first place?

Microsoft says the update will roll out over the next weeks, and as soon as it does, we’ll have in-depth review for you along with more details.

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