A new update for Xbox One is beginning to roll out to a select few members of the Xbox Insider program, and it sounds like some big quality-of-life improvements are on the way. Let's break 'em down:
The world didn't just jump straight from 1080p to 4K, you know. Betwixt those two resolutions lies 2560x1440p, also known as QHD (Quad High Definition), which is particularly popular for computer monitors. The support for 1440p includes games and media, so this isn't just going to make your dashboard look crisper - you should notice some improvements in-game too.
Interestingly, Xbox Wire only lists 1440p support for Xbox One S and Xbox One X. We've reached out to Microsoft to see if this is indeed the case, but for now just know that if you're still rocking the launch model Xbox One, you may be left out on this feature.
Mixer streaming improvements
Microsoft's livestream platform Mixer is still the underdog in a world dominated by Twitch and YouTube, but some new functionality may help make it more appealing to would-be streamers. First, there's the new share controller feature. By turning this option on, you can let a viewer take control of your game either via an on-screen digital controller or a real-life one if the viewer plugs in a compatible gamepad.
The Xbox button is disabled for the person you're sharing with, so it's not like trolls will be able to just shut off your console. Still, I'd suggest only handing someone else the reins if you trust them. But hey, it's your controller and your game, do what you want!
A smaller, but definitely appreciated improvement is the fact that Mixer broadcasts will no longer stop when you switch games or exit to the dashboard. If you've ever needed to take a small break from a game or swap to a different game mid-stream, you know how annoying it can be to have Mixer close just so you can immediately start it up all over again. Well, no more.
When the update arrives, viewers of your stream will see a pause screen while your system is at the dashboard or in the process of closing one game and opening another. This process is automatic, so there's nothing extra to do on your end. This also means you can start a broadcast from any point, whether you're on the home screen, in the middle of a game, or a game's splash screen as it boots up.
More audio control
Not really feeling the music of Forza Horizon 3 but still want to crank up the tunes as you tear up the backroads and city streets of Australia? The spring update will allow you to tweak music volume against game volume, so you can fire up your favorite Spotify playlist and find the perfect balance between wailing guitar solos (assuming you're into that) and the revving of a supercar engine.
This isn't just limited to games where it makes sense, either. Why not create a Spotify playlist of Broadway musicals so you can sing along as a pirate ship's bard in Sea of Thieves? Or just get hyped with the most adrenaline-pumping music you can find as you head into a multiplayer free-for-all in Fortnite?
If you've got a surround sound setup, here's another small detail for you to enjoy: system sounds now support spatial audio, so you'll feel truly wrapped in your Xbox One dashboard as you navigate. A small touch, but a welcome one.
If you're part of the Xbox Insider Alpha Ring (the fancy name Xbox gives to its most esteemed testers and in-development content-getters), the spring update is available now. The rest of us should expect the update to roll out over the coming weeks.
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