Tag Archive

Xbox One’s Snap Mode Is No More

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Microsoft’s Xbox One console will lose its once touted Snap feature in the next major dashboard update in order to streamline performance. Snap allowed users to use a minimalized version of apps such as a live television guide while watching TV, bring up internet explorer or bring up friend lists or other social functions.

Explaining on twitter, Xbox honcho Mike Ybarra stated that this move will lead to overall system performance and speed by freeing up resources.

Microsoft is currently testing the next version of the Xbox Dashboard Software via the recently implemented Xbox One Preview program. The next version of the system is currently being rolled out in waves, meaning that even if you sign up right now you might not get access right away. This new major version of the Xbox One’s OS is expected to become available on retail consoles when the Windows 10 Creators Update be released to mainstream PC users this coming April

In addition to the new multitasking support the new OS also includes a new guide that includes recently played games, recently used apps and online contacts. Here’s a look:

Image via PCGamer

If you are wondering how the Snap feature works on current retail Xbox One consoles check out the original trailer for it, released back in 2013:



Everything New In The Xbox One ‘Anniversary Update’

Posted on August 1, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The latest update to the Xbox One dashboard software has now rolled out for everyone and like its Windows 10 counterpart the ‘anniversary update’ brings a lot of changes to the software running under the hood of your Xbox console. We’ve documented all of the major changes so that you can get an informed taste of all of the improvements Microsoft has to offer.


Background Music

One of the coolest dashboard features from the Xbox 360s’ old “blade UI” was the built in ability to replace any in-game music with ripped CDs or tracks from an attached iPod. The Xbox One gets similar functionality but for streaming services – Microsoft’s Groove music will allow subscribers to stream tracks from  MS’ catalogue or MP3s from a users’ One Drive account in the background. Pandora Radio (in the United States at least) also supports multi-tasking background streaming. Unfortunately unlike the similar feature from Microsoft’s previous console, streaming background music will not replace in-game music automatically.



Microsoft’s virtual assistant technology that powers the search box in Windows 10 makes it way to the home console in this August update. The Cortana A.I technology supplements the ‘Hey Xbox’ commands that launched with the console back in 2013 with more robust voice commands. Voice commands can be used either through an Xbox One Kinect or Wired Headset.

Here’s a brief list of some of the commands that Cortana will accept:

  • “Hey Cortana, Xbox On”
  • “Hey Cortana, Take A Screenshot”
  • “Hey Cortana, Record That”
  • “Hey Cortana, Launch [Game Name]”
  • “Hey Cortana Show My Friends List”
  • “Hey Cortana Launch App [App Name]”
  • “Hey Cortana Go Home” [Launches the system home menu]

Xbox went for a light up logo, where as Playstation chose a more muted one

Brand New ‘Xbox One Store’ App

Prior to the Xbox One Anniversary App the Xbox One Store was built right into the dashboard. Now when you select the Store tab on the dashboard homepage a new stand-alone application will be launched. This is entirely due to the fact that Microsoft has begun integrating both the Windows 10 Store & Xbox One Store into one unified application– meaning alongside Xbox games 1000s of PC titles will also show up on the Xbox.

Xbox Live users in The United States, Norway, Italy, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and China can use mobile payment methods to purchase digital goods.

Xbox One Dashboard

Universal Windows Applications [Eventually]

The UWP platform allows developers to roll out their games & applications to three different platforms – Windows Phone, Windows 10 and Xbox One with only one submission. UWP apps scale with the device that they are installed on  – meaning their resolution and input method (controller, keyboard, pen) will change depending on the devices form factor.

Here is how Microsoft’s UWP developers page describes how the platform is able to scale in-game/in-app graphics for everything from small 5 inch phones to large Surface Hub screens:

“When your app runs on a device, the system uses an algorithm to normalize the way UI elements display on the screen. This scaling algorithm takes into account viewing distance and screen density (pixels per inch) to optimize for perceived size (rather than physical size). The scaling algorithm ensures that a 24 px font on Surface Hub 10 feet away is just as legible to the user as a 24 px font on 5′ phone that’s a few inches away.”

UWP Support isn’t activated on the Xbox One just yet for consumers, but developers have been able to enroll their consoles and test their UWP builds since GDC this past march.


That about wraps up the major features available in the Xbox One Anniversary Update. More information on the update is available on Microsoft’s official Update site, also make sure to let us know your thoughts on this latest OS update in the comments section!


Backwards Compatibility Coming To Xbox One

Posted on June 15, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced this morning that the Xbox One will be able to play select Xbox 360 titles starting this fall.

Backwards compatibility has been a bit of a sore spot this generation, with the exception of the WiiU which offers complete compatibility with previous hardware neither the Xbox One nor PlayStation 4 have offered comprehensive solutions for gamers looking to enjoy some of their favorite classics. Sure Sony offers PlayStation Now but that service costs about $15 USD a month and unless you live in an area with reliable internet it is not a perfect solution.

Starting this Fall Xbox One owners will be able to play select Xbox 360 games via either physical disc or digital downloads. It was mentioned during the conference that over 100 games will be available at launch with more to come in 2016. Not only will Xbox one owners be able to play their favorite single player campaigns but also join friends on Xbox Live for competitive multiplayer and use Xbox One only features like Game DVR and screenshots while playing 360 games.

On stage Microsoft showed off Xbox 360’s Mass Effect running on the Xbox One. Check out a brief video of Xbox One Backwards Compatibility after the jump as well as a partial list of compatible titles.

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