Microsoft have recently been bigging up the fact that they’ve added hundreds of features to the Xbox One since it first launched 12 months ago…but which were the very best additions?
Whilst the guys at Xbox HQ have themselves pointed to 102 new features being included in the Xbox One System Updates since the first one back in February 2014, we have to admit that the vast majority of them were welcome addition. But in amongst those 100+ additions we took some time to look at the ten that we feel have brought about a massive change in positivity to the Xbox One. Anything we’ve missed?
1) Track how much battery life is left on your controller – Arrived with the February 2014 update
This was one of the very first improvements that Microsoft made to the Xbox One and boy didn’t we need it. For the first couple of months of gaming on the next generation, we were left constantly bemused at how something so simple, yet so important was left out of the original way of thinking. Thankfully we can now game safe in the knowledge that we aren’t going to be left motionless in the centre of the pitch during a Clubs match on FIFA, or see us smashing into the nearest barrier when taking in a multiplayer session on Forza thanks to the ever simple tracking of our controller battery life.
2) Party chat turns on by default – Arrived with the March 2014 update
Whilst not an essential, game killing, platform changing exclusion, the fact we had to turn Party Chat on every single time we entered into some gaming time with friends was quite frankly ridiculous. Luckily it didn’t take the big dogs at Xbox HQ long to realise that they’d made a bit of a mistake and by March 2014 joining our friends in parties suddenly became much easier and simpler.
3) Chat with friends playing different games – Arrived with the March 2014 update
Coming alongside that default on of Party Chat, we could now finally chat to our mates even if they were playing something entirely different to us….my god, it’s a miracle. Again, not really sure why this wasn’t included from the off as after many years of making friends it was pretty obvious that many of us would be playing something different occasionally!
4) Notifications to see when favorites and friends sign in to Xbox Live – Arrived with the April 2014 update
Yet again we have to include an addition that was present on Xbox 360, but strangely omitted from the Xbox One at launch. Being a socially connected world where laptops ping, tablets flash and phones vibrate every five seconds to notify when your friends are available, it seems a little strange that when the Xbox One was launched, we were basically playing solo, unable to see when friends and family were available on Live. That is no longer the case thanks to the addition in April.
5) External storage support – Arrived with the June 2014 update
Next generation games are big old hard drive fillers and with the Xbox One coming with an initial 500GB drive, it really doesn’t take long to fill that baby. The inclusion of external storage support was something that many were calling from right off the bat and the guys in the know brought us the addition of external storage with the June 2014 update. A godsend for some (myself included), who prefer to run digital as opposed to with physical discs, we can now throw that 2TB external drive into the Xbox One via USB and after a 2 minute set up period, can forget it’s even there. Now, what else can I download?
6) Games with Gold & Deals with Gold – Arrived with the June 2014 update
June was a good month for Xbox One owners. Not only could we store new games thanks to the above addition, but with the inclusion of Xbox One in the Games With Gold and Deals With Gold schemes, we suddenly found ourselves with more access for little cost….something everyone likes! With free Games With Gold titles initially including the superb Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and the not so good Halo: Spartan Assault, the scheme has gone from strength to strength especially with two brand new games; Chariot and Volgarr the Viking the most recent additions. Deals with Gold hasn’t been too shabby either with numerous discounts on digital titles over the last few months. Keep em coming MS!
7) Snap Mode for Achievements – Arrived with the July 2014 update
Achievements….what’s not to like? Ever since the first cheevos were introduced, our way of gaming has changed. No longer do we only battle through to an end boss before ditching the game for ever more, but now we go back to pick up collectibles, try the campaign on a harder level or bash that A button 1000 times just to get 5GS! Achievements are an integral part of modern gaming and the introduction of Snap Mode for Achievements thrust those point scoring actions back into our faces. Previously cheevos were hidden away on Xbox One; that thankfully is no longer the case.
8) Pre-order and pre-download titles – Arrived with the August 2014 update
It must be said, digital games are great and if we’re all honest with ourselves, it’s the way of the future. Prior to the August 2014 update, it was much easier to visit our favourite online retailer, place a, order/pre-order for a game and see it delivered the next day (or on release). With the introduction of pre-ordering and pre-downloading titles via the Xbox One Games Store, suddenly the first port of call when looking for a new game has changed, instead seeing us purchase more games digitally. The fact we can also pre-download them, giving us the chance to play whatever Triple A title we want as soon as midnight hits, is just the icing on the ordering cake!
9) Boot directly to television when coming out of connected standby – Arrived with the September 2014 update
As a father of young-ish kids, nothing pleased me more than to see an option included to boot my Xbox One directly to TV instead of the usual Xbox dash. Gone are the days of hearing ‘Daddy, I can’t watch the TV’ whilst I’m laying in bed at 7am. Now, the kids themselves can hit the lovely power button on our living room console and within seconds have the Sky+ box, the TV and indeed the console all fire up and project those lovely childrens TV shows directly into the minds of my offspring. That’s a good thing yeh?
10) Custom backgrounds – Arrived with the November 2014 update
Not really sure I have to chat too much about this. THE most requested community feature has finally been included and now we have the option to create backgrounds ourselves, or use some of that super sexy achievement art to throw a quick new image onto our Xbox One dash. It may not be essential, but boy everyone wanted it!
So, what do you think of our choices? Let us know in the comments section below if you feel we’ve missed anything significant off the list. You can of course view the full list of System Update features over at the Xbox News Wire.