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Xbox One summer update rolling out with Cortana, background music, and more

Xbox One summer update rolling out with Cortana, background music, and more

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Microsoft is rolling out a significant update to the Xbox One today. The summer update brings a number of new features, including Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant for those in the US and UK. Cortana is designed to look and feel just like the Windows 10 variant, and most of the same queries work. You'll also be able to use Cortana to set up parties through Kinect or via a headset, see what friends are playing, and control media playback. Cortana replaces the old Xbox voice commands with "Hey Cortana," but Microsoft is keeping them available if you disable Cortana.

Xbox gamers will be pleased to hear background music is finally arriving with the summer update. Pandora will be one of the first apps to support background music, and it will work just as you'd expect. You can play music and start a game and the music will continue playing in the background. If you want to change the volume or pause the music then there are quick controls available from opening up the Xbox dashboard guide.

xbox background music

Microsoft is starting to merge its Xbox and Windows Stores with this update, allowing you to get access to some Windows 10 apps on the Xbox. It's still early days so not many are available, but Microsoft will be opening the store up to more and more developers in the coming months. Microsoft's Xbox Play Anywhere initiative also kicks off with this new summer update, which means you can buy certain titles for the PC and get the Xbox version (or vice versa) without paying extra.

Microsoft adds language independence for Xbox One

Another big addition is region independence. You can now select any language regardless of your location, so if you move country you can keep your language and set your new location. It's something that Xbox gamers have been waiting for. Microsoft is also tweaking the game collection layout, so you can access a "ready to install" section and not have to scroll horizontally for your games.

xbox windows 10 app

You'll be able to see what your PC friends are playing on Xbox Live

Over on the Windows 10 side, Microsoft is also updating the Xbox app ready for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that will be available on August 2nd. All the top Windows 10 PC games will now show up on Xbox Live, meaning you'll be able to see what your friends are playing on their PC, chat with them over Xbox Live parties, and see and share PC game clips. Gamers will also be able to record 60fps game clips once the Anniversary Update rolls out to Windows 10 next week.

Microsoft's Xbox One summer update is available for all consoles right now, ahead of the Xbox One S hardware launch on August 2nd. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for PCs on August 2nd as a free update.