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article imageMicrosoft begins rolling out the Xbox One Summer Update

By James Walker     Jul 30, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has begun to roll out the Xbox One Summer Update, a few days ahead of its expected launch date. The launch marks the arrival of digital assistant Cortana on the console, allowing gamers to take control of features with their voice.
Microsoft never revealed an exact launch day for the update, leading many to assume it would be timed to coincide with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2. Today, Microsoft revealed the update is already rolling out to consoles worldwide, giving players early access to its features.
Perhaps most notably, Cortana is now available on Xbox One in the U.S. and U.K. Voice commands can be used to interact with much of the console's functionality, including starting party chats, taking screenshots, sending messages and checking achievement progress. The standard roster of Cortana commands is also available, letting you check the weather or your calendar while playing Xbox games.
Xbox One Summer Update
Xbox One Summer Update
Microsoft
The update also includes user interface improvements. The Game Collection screen has been simplified to make it faster to access your games, using a selection of quick filters. Finding new games is also easier as the Xbox store has merged with the Windows Store for a combined shopping experience.
Two other features bring a couple of the top fan-requested capabilities to the Xbox One. Since its launch, fans have been requesting that Microsoft enable background audio on the console to listen to streaming music while in-game. That is now possible using Groove Music and iHeartRadio. More supporting apps will come later.
Xbox One Summer Update
Xbox One Summer Update
Microsoft
Based on "overwhelming" user feedback, Microsoft has also turned on language region independence. It lets you adjust the system language independently of your physical region. For example, gamers in the U.S. or U.K. who move to a European nation such as Germany can now correctly set their system region to the new country but still have the interface displayed in English.
The anticipated update is rolling out to all Xbox One consoles worldwide today. Features like background audio and support for Cortana have been requested by fans for months so their introduction will prove popular with players.
"The latest system update for Xbox One and the Xbox app starts rolling out today, continuing our commitment to give gamers more choice in how and where they play," said Mike Ybarra, head of Xbox platform engineering. "Cortana is now on Xbox One, Background Music will be available through music apps like Pandora, we’re bringing the most played PC games to Xbox Live with their own Game Hubs and we’re starting to combine the best of the Xbox Store and Windows Store for a single cohesive experience across devices."
Xbox One Summer Update
Xbox One Summer Update
Microsoft
In tandem with the console update, the Windows 10 Xbox app is also getting an update. Windows desktop games are now displayed in the app, making it better suited to PC gamers. Game Bar DVR clips can now be recorded in 60fps and the app is compatible with more full-screen games.
Some of these features won't work properly until the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is launched on August 2, bringing a multitude of new features to PC gamers shortly after their console counterparts. Combined, the two updates indicate Microsoft's commitment to more tightly coupling Windows 10 and Xbox, creating an ecosystem that both kinds of gamer can contribute to equally, irrespective of hardware choice.
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