October 2018 Xbox Update goes live with tons of new features and enhancements

After many weeks of testing, the big October 2018 Xbox Update will be hitting the public very soon, adding tons of new features to your Xbox console.

Some of the big headline features include Dolby Vision support for video playback, an all-new Xbox Avatars ecosystem, and Alexa and Cortana speaker support.

Xbox Avatars

The new Xbox Avatars look more modern, sporting more polygons and detailed stylings. While the ecosystem is nowhere near as rich as the years-old Xbox 360 version, the new system should give creators and brands more freedom to include new props, styles, and other cosmetics. You don't need to use the new Avatars, however, and will still have access to the previous Avatar system.

Microsoft says new Avatar assets and items will be added on a monthly basis. The app is available to use both on Xbox One and Windows 10.

Cortana and Alexa speaker support

Echo Dot and Xbox

Echo Dot and Xbox (Image credit: Windows Central)

While the Xbox One supports Cortana commands through a connected microphone, now you'll be able to use a connected Alexa or Cortana speaker to replace many of the voice commands popularized with Kinect. You can now say "Alexa, tell Xbox to turn on," as well as perform compound commands like "Alexa, open Rocket League," from an off-state, turning on your Xbox One and a connected TV, while also signing you in.

Additionally, Microsoft will include an Amazon Echo Dot worth $50 with purchases of an Xbox One through Amazon U.S. while stocks last, which is a sweet deal.

Dolby Vision

The Xbox One S and X were quick to support HDR10, the open HDR format used pervasively across the TV industry. Some sets, however, use Dolby Vision instead. For those of you with Dolby Vision HDR TVs, Microsoft is bringing support for video playback.

New narrator languages

Microsoft is adding language support for Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Swedish, Dutch, and Australian English to the accessibility narrator in this update.

What's next?

In terms of service updates and new features, Microsoft recently reiterated its commitment to bringing mouse and keyboard support to Xbox One games, giving developers the ability to filter players by their inputs. Additionally, Microsoft detailed Project xCloud, its service for getting your AAA game library onto mobile phones and other personal devices. We should see some early versions of these in future Xbox Insider updates down the line, with xCloud specifically aiming for 2019.

The October 2018 Xbox Update should begin rolling out today, with a new preview wave likely dropping for Xbox Insiders in the near future.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!