Since the Xbox One launched in November 2013, it has gone through a number of product and service changes to make the console as versatile as possible. Theses changes have been as small as an updated accessibility feature to a complete overhaul of the operating system. When Microsoft reversed their always-online policy for the Xbox One, they made a clear change of direction for their brand. This was made possible thanks to the devoted and vocal fans that wanted the next Xbox to be the best it could be. From that moment on, Microsoft have continued to evolve the platform with ideas based upon user feedback. Because of this, the system has been given a slew of inspired applications and features that can enhance gameplay and entertainment experiences.
Though there are many things the Xbox One can do, it is shocking that few gamers know or understand the extent of the features their system holds. The fact of the matter is that there are a great many changes that are made to the system every year. Each change provides more and more user-requested services and features. Many of them get lost due to the volume of updates the Xbox has had. There are so many hidden ideas integrated into the platform that this isn't even the first list we’ve featured dedicated to the unknown Xbox One features.
So, here they are: 25 really awesome things your Xbox One could do before and after the Fall 2017 update:
In My Games and Apps, it is possible to customize more than the Ready to Install List. Players are also able to filter their games and apps based upon some unique categories: alphabetical, file size, hard drive, and game type. If you want your games to appear alphabetically, you can do that. If you would prefer to filter each game by the letter of the alphabet it starts with, and have the letters separated, you can do that too. Want to know how much approximate storage space your games take up? There’s a filter for that too. From there, you can also filter your games by which hard drive they are installed on – a handy feature if you’ve opted for expanded storage options. For fans of backwards compatibility, you can chose to filter your games to reveal Xbox One only, Xbox 360 and XBOX games, or showcase your entire collection.
Sometimes it’s better to appear offline. If you don’t want to draw the attention of a friend who constantly bombards you with messages in chat or simply want to take a day off work to enjoy the latest hit games, you can be sure that appearing offline is a safe bet. All you have to do is go into your profile and select the feature. All of a sudden, it will appear as though you’re signed out. Your friends list won’t be able to see if you’re online and neither will anyone who searches for your Gamertag on the Xbox Website. This is an excellent feature that protects your right to game in peace, without catching the ire of anyone you’d rather not be bothered by. Of course, you can still message and play games with the people you wish.
Staying true to the mantra that complete accessibility is a positive thing for gamers, there is a unique feature on the Xbox One that warrants a larger discussion. Called Co-pilot, this revolutionary feature literally breaks down barriers. From Microsoft: it “links two controllers so you can use them as if they were one”. This means that once linked, “both controllers have full control” of the game, allowing the two gamers to use them how they wish. The applications of this can vary from a friend assisting a gamer who may have difficulty with all of the buttons, teaching a game to a child, or even trying to work together with your partner. This is undoubtedly the greatest accessibility tool on the Xbox and meant well be the greatest co-operative and learning tool as well.
Adding to the fairly addictive meta-game of achievement hunting, players can now track which achievements they are coming close to earning. In addition, you can also track the completion percentage of an achievement you are working towards completing. To track your achievements, open the guide and select Achievements. From there, you can turn on the tracker to display your progress while you play. Once enabled, players can select a host of options, ranging from the tracker’s location, the number of achievements to show, and even the tracker’s transparency. With all of these customization options for the tracker, you’ll be able to grab that Rare Achievement in no time! It is important to note that the tracker will only work for the game you are currently playing at that time.
For the uninitiated, Looking for Group is a powerful way to meet fun and engaged people who need someone to play with online. To do this, Press the Xbox Button, head to the Multiplayer tab and select Looking for Group. You will see an option to either Create New or Search. In either case, you will be asked to select a game. Once you have done this, you will be given the option to find players by entering tags, and pick the desired language, time, and where you are looking from, be it your clubs, friends, or anywhere on Xbox One. Any official or community tournaments will also be displayed. Maybe you’ll even join one of them! Despite this being a quick solution, if you find yourself using this tool frequently, why not make a Club so you can run your own adventures?
Did you know that you could now create your own tournaments on Xbox One? It’s very easy – so long as you don’t mind making a Club first. You’re going to need to either be an admin of a pre-existing Club or make your own. It doesn’t take long and the custom settings will allow you a great level of flexibility. In your Club, select your Multiplayer Tab, allowed by the Tournament tab. Select the Create Tournament button, the game, then customize the details including the start time and name. If you don’t have enough friends in your club or wish to include others, use the Looking for Group feature in your Club and create a post about the tournament including all the relevant details. Once this is done, share it with the world and get ready for some awesome multiplayer action!
Once Cortana launched on the Xbox One, many believed this feature would only be compatible with the now defunct Kinect. Fortunately, for those of you who regularly use or have access to headsets, all you have to do is make sure your mic is plugged in and then you are free to use the commands for Cortana. For those of you who are reading this from Canada and the U.K., this feature is not available, but fret not, there is a simple work-around. If you really want to have voice commands for Cortana instead of shelving out money for the almost-useless Kinect, change your language to US English, restart your console, and then enable Cortana. Doing so will allow communication with the not-so-rampant A.I. From there, just follow the voice commands Microsoft released and you’ll be good to go.
Thanks to an update in 2015, it is now possible to customize the length of Game DVR. While adding the ability to take Screenshots of your favourite times in gaming, it does more wonders to capture the moment on video for a sick and highly up-loadable instant replay. Until the update, players were relegated to capturing no more or less than 30 seconds of gameplay. While it can be argued that 30 seconds is a happy medium for game capture, it is far better to have a host of options. After the update, the game DVR options became up to 5 minute sat 720p and 2 minutes at 1080p. Microsoft has even announced to extend this recording time to coincide with the imminent release of the Xbox One X for 4K DVR recording.
The Xbox One has many buried settings, but none are more reclusive than the ability to find Facebook friends. In fact both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have this ability, but it is pushed further out of the way on Microsoft’s premiere gaming console. All you have to do is sign into Facebook on your Xbox. Under the Suggested Friends area on your Xbox – or in the Social Settings – you can enable a Facebook friend finder, allowing you to easily discover Facebook friends who are also on Xbox Live. Sometimes, you may not always know or remember your friend’s Gamertag. This is an easy way to bring all of that information into a convenient list right onto your console. In no time, you’ll be playing your favourite games with a fire team of Facebook friends!
Originally one of the most requested fan features on the Xbox community feedback site, background music is available on Xbox One through a variety of platforms. The first of which is Groove, a premium streaming and download service offered by Microsoft. It offers the typical assortment of features expected from most subscription music sources. There are also numerous free options including iHeartRadio, Simple Background Music Player and VLC. The latter two allow for music to be connected and played via USB. Should you choose to use the Simple Background Music Player, make a folder on your USB called Xbox Music Library and put everything you want to listen to in there. That way, the app will be able to distinguish what music you want played. Unfortunately, popular radio app TuneIn is still unable to play background music.=
The ultimate bragging rights just got a whole lot more competitive. On the Xbox 360, Gamerscore was meant to be a way to show off your total accrued skill level in the games that you play with it being directly linked to your score number. Now, Microsoft has taken this one step further, adding Gamerscore leaderboards to Xbox One. Essentially, this pits you against your friends to see who has gained the higher score that week and month, even going so far as to track the friends that are closely following you or the friends you are closely behind. It builds up an artificial competitive edge to play more of your favourite games. The idea is nothing short of brilliant. Even the introduction of Rare Achievements (unlocked by less than 10% of the community) represented by a diamond and special sound add to the competitive achievement meta-game.
Microsoft fixed the most annoying thing about the Xbox One in an update a little over a year ago. Unfortunately, not many people know about this exceptional feature. Simply, it allows gamers to silence that shrill startup chime, power-down whine, and THATHUNK of checking for any discs left in the system. Of all the things to gripe about, one of the most infuriating parts of the Xbox One was indeed its whiny startup and power-down effects. Fortunately, these have been left completely by the wayside thanks to a simple update that mutes the sounds. Now, you don’t have to wake up your family members asleep on the couch if you wish to play a game with your headset connected. This simple mute feature has already augmented the Xbox experience to new heights and is a sure sign that, despite everything, Microsoft is trying their best to listen to their fans.
Now, the Xbox One allows users to customize their profiles in many meaningful ways. One of them is to add your favourite games, friends, and services like Games With Gold, Xbox Game pass – the subscription games service – or EA Access. Best of all, players can choose to align these things in any combination they wish. Want your best friends to be at the top? No problem! Want to add every game you got this month? No sweat! Only want your pins and nothing else? Easy. The range of the new update allows for each new user to completely tailor their complete Xbox One experience. This level of customization is great, especially considering the old layout forced more advertisements on unwilling users than many other similar platforms.
Within the My Games and Apps program on the Xbox One, players can find all of their installed content. Specifically, the Ready to Install area showcases games that you own but are not installed on your system. The installing part is easy, but haven’t you ever wondered if you could see less of them? Well, you can. By hovering over any game on the Ready to Install list, simply hold down both LB and RB and tap the X button. Doing so will allow you to show or hide your entire collection of Ready to Install games. Xbox Live Gold Members may find this feature invaluable so they can hide all previously played games that they don’t want on their hard drive anymore. It’s a useful tool that really cleans up your menus – especially if you’d prefer to take the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach.
While being able to show and hide your Xbox One games and apps is an invaluable feature, what if there were particular items you wanted to be able to install at a moment’s notice? The answer may surprise you: you can customize the Ready to Install list on your device. This is a two-step process. First, you will need to decide which games you wish to show on your Ready to Install list. To do this, simply hover over the item in question, press the menu button and go all the way down to Show or Hide From List. After selecting all that you want to show, simply hold LB and RB and tap X. Doing so will hide all of the items you chose to hide, leaving the remaining ones visible for quick-access.
One of the best things about the Xbox One is the ability to pin your favourite or most frequently used games and apps to your home screen. All it takes to add a pin is go to My Games and Apps and hover over the desired item. Press the Menu button and there will be an option to Pin it. The pins look like a tiled grid on your Home screen that can be selected quickly. You can pin any items found in your My Games and Apps. Additionally, pins are now accessible from one press of the Xbox button. Simply bring up the guide and an icon to find all your pins will be on to the right, allowing you to switch in the middle of using any app. Despite being updated to 40 pins, it still seems too low, given the space provided on the screen.
There is a unique exploit with the Xbox mobile app that many have not figured out. Players used to be able to pin items they wished to purchase from the Xbox Store on their home console. Since an update in 2016, that feature was removed…or so many thought. It is still possible to pin un-purchased items, but it must be done solely on the Xbox mobile app. After adding the item in question, you will be able to see it and even edit its placement or outright remove it from your console. Because there seems to be a lack of parity between the updates to the app and the console, this is a useful exploit for anyone looking to make a wish list. At this time, there is no other way to create a wish list, though Microsoft will shortly enable the ability to gift digital items.
Got a loyal friend group you play with regularly? Need a better way to organize your squad? Looking to join a community of like-minded gamers? The answer to all of these questions lies in Clubs. Clubs can be centered on friends, games, or anything in between. By creating a club, it allows exclusive chat functionality between its members. Clubs have three types: public, private, or hidden. In all cases, members will be able to play together, share content, and chat. Once your club is created, it can be customized with background and profile images. Clubs are an excellent way to meet new people online in a safe forum for gaming. Because there are so many special-interest clubs already, it is easy to see that many people will be drawn to ones based on what they like. Try it out!
Two years ago, Microsoft added backward compatibility for the Xbox 360 and it was a smash hit. Many gamers around the world dusted off their old collections for the games of old to receive new life in the 8th generation. Because of this, many games from the 360-era are still widely sought after. This is because backwards compatibility encompasses the digitally purchased games as well as those released on-disc. This is a feature many know of, but far less are aware that the original Xbox is starting to become backward compatible too. Currently, there are only a handful of games that are available, but the list will grow. Additionally, Microsoft announced that they would be supporting the disc-released original Xbox games as well as the digital ones in the near future, making the Xbox One currently the friendliest console for cross-generational gaming.
Did you know that you could customize your Gamerpics now? No, not only because of all the presets that comes installed on your console. You may choose any appropriate image you wish so long that it is tasteful to the public eye. Want that picture of your cat in a Halloween costume? Easy. Want a game character that isn’t available in the current Xbox presets? Grab an image off Google and paste that as your identifying moniker. This was a feature that was available even on the Xbox 360, so it’s excellent that Microsoft recently made it available. There are a great many people who will be thankful to finally be rid of the preset logos. How many Master Chief or Marcus Fenix logos are out there? If that’s your jam, awesome…but if now, the floodgates of possibility have opened!
Unlike having custom Gamerpics, custom backgrounds are nothing new. In fact, the feature has been present for many years now. Curiously, many people are still unaware of their use. Many more people know about the use of achievement art to customize their Xbox Home screen’s background. By using unlocked achievement artwork, it provided a unique Meta game for players to perform these daring feats in order to get that new background. However, if one wanted to make a personal image their background, all they would have to do is put that HD image on a flash drive, plug it into their Xbox and customize their profile. This simple process has been around for a long while and it is truly surprising that so few people know about it. Be sure to customize your Xbox One background today!
Beginning life under the name Beam, Mixer was acquired by Microsoft in the summer of 2016. Shortly thereafter, it was put on Xbox One and re-launched under its current name. Since then, it has flourished as an integral part of the Xbox community and a worthy competitor to Twitch. Mixer boasts less than one second of latency and allows for easy broadcasting on Windows 10 and Xbox One with no extra software required. The two most revolutionary features make Mixer stand out from the crowd are easily the interaction and the cooperative game streaming. Viewer interactivity offers a selection of visual elements and soundboards with streamers in personal and fun ways. Co-streaming, on the other hand, allows for 4 gamers to combine their streams into one broadcast on one viewer with one shared page and centralized chat: perfect for a co-op stream of Halo 5: Guardians.
While investing in a greater graphical fidelity for the release of the Xbox One, there were also significant advancements made for the accessibility settings on the system. Known as Ease of Access, these settings ensure everyone is on a level playing field, regardless of their real-world physical abilities. In recent years, these features have only become more pronounced. These settings include: the Narrator that describes on-screen elements, the Magnifier that makes the content larger, High Contrast settings, Closed Caption options for audio and video, Game Chat Transcription and even button mapping. In all cases, these features are a serious advantage to Microsoft and aid in allowing all players to enjoy the full range of content that the Xbox has to offer. There is also another feature called Co-pilot, which will be explored further.
Have you ever experienced frustration with wanting to use a specific controller to play the game you want on your profile? Even it you haven’t, this feature may help. Now, gamers can assign a specific controller to their profile. Don’t want your roommate touching your snazzy Elite Controller? What about your custom-build Xbox Design Lab controller? No problem: just go into the settings under Devices & Accessories, select the controller, and assign the controller to that profile. Specifically, you are linking your desired controller to your Xbox Live account. If everyone had a dedicated controller, this likens the Xbox One to everyone having their own bowling ball when meeting up at the local alley. This makes console sharing with your friends or family easier as it takes away from the arduous process of signing people in individually, hoping that the system signs the right person in with the correct gamepad.
Introduced earlier this year, Xbox Game Pass is a subscription-based service that gives gamers access to over one hundred Xbox One and 360 games. However, unlike the relatively stagnant PlayStation Now’s game streaming service, Xbox Game Pass allows its members to fully download the games of their choice onto their hard drives. Doing so allows players to download and experience these games in full-fidelity. In fact, these games may even be played offline, should you choose. This is a great way to check out games in the Xbox catalogue, although many games are 3rd party. Should you decide to purchase a particular game and abandon the subscription, make sure you buy the game first – subscribers save 20% off Xbox One games and 10% off related DLC. This is a very convenient way to test the waters of a new experience without having to buy a full game outright.