Due to my shoddy research, this article has been changed to reflect the fact that I miss-read the Microsoft February update notes (see the comments section below for further information).
The Xbox One February update has been rolled out for everyone, but I have been using the update for the past week or so. Being a part of Xbox’s preview service is good in some ways – I get to see the updates early and experience them before most. It also sucks in its own way, because it seems to play havoc with my connection to XBL, and the party feature seems to go a tad mental when I’m chatting with those who are running an earlier version. Still, I must admit that Microsoft has done a great job at updating their console thus far, and it’s quite exciting to get an early glimpse of these updates.
The February update has been a pretty aesthetic one. The most noticeable change is the fact that some of the tiles are now transparent. Being able to see through them is definitely a bonus, because now there is a bit more of your background on show. I had picked an image of a Roman relief, from the achievements of Ryse, as my background – so it’s nice to be able to see a little more of it. Due to copyright and branding limitations, Microsoft haven’t been able to make every tile transparent – companies are surprisingly unwilling to have their brand logo almost wiped from the dashboard of one of the biggest consoles on the market… no clue why. Still, as you can see from the featured image of this post, having just a few see through tiles is more than enough to give a little more punch to your custom or achievement backgrounds.
Microsoft has hinted at this feature for some time now, pretty much since the Xbox One was first being advertised. Microsoft are starting to utilise the Xbox One’s social features, making it a hub for gamers to communicate, share, watch, explore, enjoy and compete in games and through games. The ‘Game Hub’ just adds another dimension to this. Now, if you press the ‘start’ button on the tile for one of your games, the option for ‘Game Hub’ appears in the menu. Once you’ve selected it, you will be given a number of new options.
The ‘Play’ option lets you either play the game (obviously), play the game with a party or automatically play the game and broadcast it through Twitch – I particularly like that option, because it’ll make Twitch streaming a lot more seamless. You then have the ‘Follow’ option, which allows you to subscribe to the feed for that game – giving you updates from developers, where updates are available. Next up is ‘View progress’, which lets you see how far you’ve got with completing achievements, and which achievements you have.
Then we have ‘View leaderboards’. I really like this feature, because I’m a competitive sod. It now gives you more accurate figures for what you’ve done in a certain game, and lets you compare those figures with others. In FIFA, for example, you can compare everything from how long you’ve played the game, to the number of games you’ve played or how many goals you’ve scored. Take another example, like GTA V, and you’re able to compare how much cash you’ve earned, the number of cars you’ve stolen or the number of stars you’ve accumulated over your game time. In all, I like that Microsoft are making this console more about the gamer and the gamers. The Xbox One is slowly becoming a very social console, and I much prefer to play my games with (and against) friends.
There is also a controller update, which makes the controller more responsive. You can update this by plugging your controller into the Xbox One, going to Settings > Devices & accessories > Xbox One Controller > Update. Other handy things to know about this section of your console is that you can assign your controller to a certain gamertag, and you can also use it to ‘Buzz’ your controller. That means if you suspect the vibrate function is broken, you can buzz it to test it OR if you’ve lost the controller and you know it’s turned on, you can buzz it to find it.