Xbox One’s July update includes a clever new FastStart feature for game downloads

Xbox One S
Photo by Tyler Pina / The Verge

Microsoft is releasing its Xbox One July dashboard update to all users today, and the main new feature allows Xbox owners to start games that are downloading quicker. FastStart, originally unveiled at E3, prioritizes the files a game really needs to start while it continues to download the rest of the title in the background. It requires a download speed of at least 20Mbps, and will be available for a “select number” of popular games that are available on Xbox Game Pass.

“You can generally expect to jump into your game twice as fast as you did previously,” explains a Microsoft FAQ on the new feature. Microsoft has not yet provided a full list of games compatible with FastStart, but the company says it plans to make it available to more games over time once titles are updated. FastStart is separate, and supplants, the existing “ready to start” feature that allows some Xbox One games to start before they’re fully downloaded. Ready to start typically let gamers play an initial level before the full game was available.

While FastStart is the main addition, Microsoft is also tweaking its Pins dashboard feature to include groups of games and apps. The groups mean you can essentially organize your games into favorite sections and these will sync across multiple Xbox One devices. Microsoft is also improving search within the Xbox One dashboard, with the ability to press the Y button anywhere to bring up a search interface for apps, games, settings, and more.

Comments

The search feature is really nice, especially combined with Kinect voice input.

The Groups feature also works quite well, especially since Groups can be added to the home screen.

I’m loving groups, far better than pins or jumping into the games tab

I just wish the download speeds were faster. I have gig speed internet and the downloads poke along at 10-15mbps. A speed test on the xbox always shows much faster speeds.

Might be your ISP throttling downloads. Speed tests will normally be better than actual downloads.

I have a 200mbps connection and i usually pull 150-180mbps speeds over xbl.

I’m rolling with a 6mbps connection and I usually pull about 4.56-5.50 speeds over XBL….killmenowplease.

My Xbox download speeds typically push the limits of my connection.

Mine too, was super nice at my sister’s place to max out her line, 240mbs line vs my home line of 10

Are you using a public DNS service? Try using your ISP’s DNS service so that your Xbox connects to nearby servers.

Im not sure thats how it works.
Would the DNS service point you to the MSFT load balancer which should send you to the best MSFT POP and DC?

Pretty sure ISP DNS servers get IP addresses mapping to the LB at the nearest Azure region, whereas public DNS servers get an IP mapping to the Azure region closest to them (eg. GoogleDNS gets Azure’s US West region or something because Google is in San Francisco.)

That’s odd, as other commenters have said, Xbox download speed (often) goes beyondspeed offered by internet connection, especially when downloading games from the Store (Thanks CDN, I believe.)

You should definitely contact your ISP to rectify that issue.

It’s very streaky for me. Sometimes I’m only getting 30-50 Mbps, and other times I’m getting full 500 Mbps.

I wish I could get the "auto update" feature working. I have it turned on and disabled the "put hard drive to sleep" feature, but my games still don’t auto update.

Wish the YouTube would FastStart. Takes around 40 seconds, on a machine they said would be the centre of your living room.

Doesn’t ever take that long on my machines… Is it the official YouTube app?

I don’t understand how people experience things like this and think, yeah, this must be the way it is. If it takes more than 5 seconds for any app to open, especially one you know is from a major developer, something is wrong and you should seek support.

FastStart is actually for your first download. So unless you’re reinstalling YouTube every time you use it, FastStart would have no effect on app startup time. Try getting a cheap external USB 3.0 SSD and moving the YouTube app to that.

Perhaps try reinstalling the app?

They need a better interface to access apps and media… Right now it requires to dig into options to find apps (if it’s not the last used app).

Yeah, I’d prefer "Apps" and "Games" to have their own separate entries on the Guide and Dashboard. Currently, you have to select "My Games and Apps" then search through.

Pins are great, but not always viable.

I’ve set the new groups as most used apps on one and most used games on another. No more digging into the games tab, it’s far superior.

Wrote this before I applied the update. (Groups weren’t explained too well). But FINALLY! This is the way it should have been from the start.

It’s cool, I’ve been running the insider ring by accident and keep forgetting about it until they write it up on the tech sites and wonder why I’ve had these new features for a while already.
New search feature is great

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