Win 10 Game Mode and Xbox One accessibility lead ‘Creators Update’
Microsoft has outlined some of the new features found in their massive Xbox One and Windows 10 patch, known as the Creators Update. These include a revamped dashboard for Xbox One, a dedicated Game Mode for Windows 10, and inbuilt game streaming via Beam. Insider program members will receive the update in waves over the next few weeks, with a full release slated for spring 2017.
Building upon the community-centric updates released last year, Microsoft are now giving the Xbox One system a boost in accessibility to both players and developers.
- The Home UI has been updated with speed and system performance in mind.
- Guide overlay will be more intuitive and accessible from anywhere on the system, with multitasking apps such as GameDVR and the new achievement tracker within easy reach.
- Cortana will accept voice commands for managing the Party, to play music, or to set reminders and alarms for upcoming gaming sessions. They’ve also streamlined the UI and “improved things behind the scenes.”
- Available system updates will be more obvious to the user and feature an updated interface.
- Background updates can be kept up to date independent of the system’s power mode.
- New Copilot feature allows two controllers to act as one. Other than couch co-op, it’ll grant better flexibility for players with unique controller configurations.
- New Ease of Access settings that improve the Magnifier and Narrator, as well adding Elite controller features such as custom rumble settings and greater audio output options.
- Screen Time parental controls will be implemented soon, limiting the amount of play time available to children’s accounts.
- New spatial audio outputs such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, and Windows HRTF (Head Related Transfer Functions) will be available to developers.
- Bitstream passthrough (all formats) for native audio decoding has been added, although it’s still considered to be in beta.
After the surprising launch of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, Microsoft is taking further steps to incentivize PC gaming on Windows 10 machines. As early rumors have revealed, they’re focusing on performance this time around.
- Activating Game Mode through the Game bar’s (Windows key + G) settings menu will optimize the system for improved gaming performance overall. More details to be announced.
- A dedicated Gaming section under System Settings will serve as a hub for tweaking the Game bar, GameDVR, and broadcasting. Future additions include Game Mode and “some system and user settings for gaming.”
Built-in Beam streaming
The only new feature coming to both platforms is built-in support for Beam, a service Microsoft acquired in August 2016. They say it’s designed to get broadcasts up quickly, touting delays under one second thanks to their new streaming protocol called “FTL”.
It’ll pave the way towards real-time interactions between streamer and viewer, supplemented by interactive components such as sound boards. However, how it’ll hold up to abuse remains to be seen.
Those who’ve received the update may begin broadcasting via the Game bar (PC) or Guide (Xbox One).