Microsoft’s Xbox One begins previewing Anniversary Updates, with Cortana and improved sharing – PCWorld

As Microsoft begins rolling out some of its Anniversary Update features to Windows 10 users, it’s also doing so with the Xbox One: adding Cortana, and enhancing how game clips can be captured, edited, and shared.

It’s not so simple as all that, though. Just as Microsoft is pushing PC features to its game console, so too are improvements on their way to the beta Xbox app for Windows 10, including 60 fps recording of Windows games from the Game bar, and the ability to share quick clips to Twitter. Meanwhile, Microsoft has begun fusing the Windows Store and the Xbox Store to provide a single experience across both platforms.

Microsoft isn’t releasing the new updates to everyone; that should occur later this summer. Instead, only those who have signed up for the Xbox Preview program will receive the Xbox One updates this week, and Windows Insiders should see the updates to the beta Xbox app in the coming weeks, Microsoft said. The updates will also roll out in waves, so there’s no real guarantee when you’ll actually receive them.

Why this matters: Microsoft’s said previously that Cortana would eventually make an appearance on the Xbox One, with a particular focus on games. It’s the closer ties with Windows 10—and especially the social aspects—that seem particularly significant, though. Rumors of more powerful Xboxes aside, Microsoft still hasn’t established the Xbox One as the dominant console, so bringing PC and console gamers closer together helps Microsoft cement an alliance between the two. And if that doesn’t work, making it easy to share clips on social media like Twitter can at least make it seem like it’s succeeding.

Xbox One: Cortana, no Kinect needed

Microsoft plans to roll out four new features to the Xbox One: Cortana, improved sharing, an improved Game Collection tab, and a way to quickly discover Facebook friends that (secretly?) game.

Cortana’s still the same digital assistant she always has been, though don’t expect her to be able to perform PC-related functions (like dictate email) without the associated Windows 10 app. Instead, she’s dedicated to game-specific functions such as inviting friends to game parties and launching games. You can also trigger Cortana while doing something else, like playing a game. There’s one big improvement, though—you don’t need a Kinect to command her, just a headset. 

Xbox One cortana Microsoft

You can easily (and orally) form parties using Cortana, Microsoft says.

Microsoft also streamlined the way in which users can share screenshots, GameDVR clips, and more. So far, though, this optimization is just for the Xbox Live community—if you want to share to Twitter, for example, you’ll need the updates to the beta Xbox app. 

This transition is important, however; Microsoft hasn’t made a big deal of the fact that the Xbox Live community tab in the Xbox One is actually a fairly sophisticated social network—just one that trades in clips and screenshots, rather than lengthy rants or meme GIFs. Facilitating that social network should help it gain traction. Ideally, of course, it will expand and siphon off users from other social networks, and that’s where the Facebook Friend Finder comes in.

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