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 (opens in new tab).

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. (opens in new tab) 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 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Finally... I wonder if devs will be able to leverage the new avatars like they did in the past.
  • Hoping FH4 support. It seems like it is setup for it.
  • How about some support for Google Assistant powered speakers.
  • Microsoft chose to partner with the assistant that had/has the development lead. Don't hold your breath for Google.
  • only after googlr start to play nice with MS... for example releasing google apps for windows, don't block some web services like heart and hello on other browsers than chrome, stop to slow down youtube on other browsers, stop show chrome popups every single time on every single google web service, allow MS to release a youtube app on windows....
  • According to another article, it is only Netflix right now. BluRay possibly in the pipeline.
  • It's up to the creators to update their apps and games to use Dolby Vision
  • That's not how the article specific to Dolby Vision explains it. The article states that only Netflix is supported right now.
  • These Avatars are disgusting
  • LOL of course you think so.
  • He's right though.
  • I like the new avatars, mine looks a lot better now
  • The article says for Windows 10 but I can only find the Original Avatars app. I already have the new on my Xbox but partly because I'm an Insider.
  • Same here. I found the app from Edge on my Xbox. Browse and search the app and press download and it will transfer you to store
  • So you can now have prosthetics and wheelchairs and be fat and all that... but you can't have a mole on your face anymore. Funny how they try to be inclusive but just end up erasing another group along the way.
  • Even funnier to me, they can't seem to please anyone. Jeez, lighten up.
  • Here's the new avatars editor, since the articles doesn't provide a link and it's not searchable yet it seems...
    https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co... Edit: Noticed they did include the link in the article, but as the "Xbox One and Windows 10" in "The app is available to use both on Xbox One and Windows 10."... I would have linked the "The app" part to make it clear the link was for, you know, the app itself.
  • 1 v 100 needs a come back now!
  • Yes!
  • 'Alexa ask Siri to tell Bixby that Cortana needs to turn the power on the XBox' vs 'Xbox on' this is progress people! 🤔
  • Meanwhile the UI is still ad-filled sh*t.
  • Lol
  • Update seems to be causing issues with external HD's constantly spinning up every 30-60 seconds even when the XBox is off, if "Instand On" is set. I believe a few users have reported it and MS are looking into it.