An in-depth look at Windows 10 on Xbox One

Today, Microsoft gave us an inside look at Windows 10 running on the console here at E3 2015. We learned a bit more about Cortana, Navigation, as well as snapping apps. We weren't allowed to take any photos or video, but here's what we learned.

Update: One thing I regretfully forgot to include is that I received confirmation that Cortana will not work with headsets as of right now. Microsoft did state that it is listening to feedback though. If you don't have a Kinect you can launch Cortana via the new side menu and you can type in any questions you have for her from there. Also, as of right now this update it slated to hit all consoles in the fall. That being said it could hit the preview program any time before then.

Home

Once you update your console and turn it on there's no doubt that the first thing you'll notice is the refreshed new look. But this update isn't about looks. One thing Microsoft emphasized throughout the demo is that this update's main focus is about speed and the look is just a side-effect of this.

If you look in the top left corner of the screen you'll see your avatar. Here, it will go through animations such as dancing, waving, etc. Microsoft has said that they're bringing Avatars back but didn't mention anything further than what we saw in that corner.

When navigating the dashboard you will notice that every transition is fluid and instantaneous. Although, navigation now takes place on a vertical plane instead of horizontal, you can still use trigger buttons for quick navigation actions. That means even if you're at the top of the home tab you can go straight to your pins and vice versa with the press of a button.

One thing you'll also notice on the home tab is that each highlighted game that you can hover on, all have 4 different components to them. The first shows which friends are playing that game and below that there are the options to jump straight to the Game Hub, share clips and achievements, or the headline.

The only one of these that changes from game to game is the headline. Think of the headline as the game's Twitter status. It gives developers the option to relay news directly to the players. A developer can use it to post notes for a new patch or an upcoming tournament. They can change this at any time.

Community

Instead of having everything in the friends app, Microsoft decided to flesh it out and take the social aspects of it out and give it its own tab on the dashboard. The community tab consists of what was essentially the 'feed' from the friends app and mashes it together with the trending section that was found previously on the dashboard.

When you share something on this new 'feed', the headline is no longer the forefront, with the video or screenshot being displayed as a small thumbnail. Instead, the video/screenshot is displayed as a huge wide tile with the headline being displayed on top of the tile. This gives the 'feed' a cleaner look while also driving more attention to the post.

On the side of the 'feed' is the new trending section. This section will usually begin with a video straight from Microsoft and will be followed by trending things that you will most likely be interested in. An example of these things are how many posts Fable Legends has received, how many people are playing Minecraft, or a Gaming with Devs event for Ori and the Blind Forest.

Snapping apps

Although snapping apps on the Xbox has always been awesome, something about it has always felt a little off. From the moment I started up my Day One Xbox Console, I was surprised to see the snap function on the right side. I don't have any reason as to why, but looking over to the right just felt unnatural for some reason. Well, Microsoft has responded to everyone's feedback by placing the snapped app on the left now.

One thing I also noticed while Microsoft demoed this is that the stock Xbox apps (achievements, music, video, etc.) are no longer just green. The colors I saw reminded me of the color scheme that Windows 8 uses for its stock apps.

Cortana

As we learned two days ago, Cortana will be an integral part of the Windows 10 on Xbox experience. And in my last article about the top Xbox announcements at E3 I mentioned how I was worried that Cortana would be scaled back for the Xbox One. Well, today I got my answer.

Anything Cortana can do on your Windows 10 device (mobile or PC) she will be able to do on your Xbox One. Ask Cortana the weather, it will tell you. Want to know your Daily Glance but your phone is too far away? Just ask Cortana through your Xbox.

What I do still wonder though, is that if you have appointments scheduled with Cortana, will it notify you on your Xbox if you're playing during the time the reminder goes off. Guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

Update: Microsoft has since indicated to us that Cortana won't work with a headset at launch. So at least initially you definitely will require a Kinect.

The store

With every new UI refresh Microsoft does on any of their platforms, it always seems to leave the store out of its reveals and saves it for a later date. And as most of you can guess that doesn't change here. The current store is considered by all to be disastrous. Different versions of the same game are all shown on the same page while hundreds of DLC for certain games litter the store as well.

This will be the first refresh that includes the new unified store so I'm sure it will have many changes once revealed. One can hope that everything is now categorized by indie and AAA titles. I'd, also like to see each game have its own store page with the ability to choose which version of the game you'd like to buy.

Summing up

We have so many reasons to be excited for Windows 10 to make its way onto the Xbox One. However, without a true release date we are still left in the cold a little wondering when it will come. The only thing I can suggest to those who can't wait is to immediately join the Xbox Preview Program. This way you'll always be among the first to try out the new stuff.

When you think about it, we have only seen a glimpse of how Windows 10 on Xbox helps the consoled intertwine with the rest of the ecosystem. That being said, that small glimpse has already shown a lot of promise.

So, what do you guys think? Will Microsoft deliver?

172 Comments
  • Is the Xbox preview program as risky as Windows 10 testing program? Would joining it risk destroying my Xbox?
  • No, definitely not. They run their own tests before they roll out the preview, thing is it's a more in depth test than the ones the Mobile or PC division rolls out. The Preview Program has never had any major problems. Of the months i been in it i only ran into 1 bug on my One but it wasn't even that serious.
  • In that case,I gotta look for an invite.
  • Yup. It's always worked well for me. I've enjoyed playing Mass Effect again now that it's on the XB1 backwards compatibility update. If you know someone in the program, they can actually send you an invite through their preview app.
  • has Mass Effect appeared for you? I have the digital version on my 360, and other games such as Perfect Dark and Banjo Tooie have appeared on my One, but ME has not...
  • Interestingly enough, I DON'T have the digital version, and Mass Effect showed up for me without having to put my disc in. Was it ever a free game on gold? I can't remember.
  • I need help getting into the preview program. If any one has an invite it will be much appreciated.  My tag is osivette 
  • Will u inc me to preview.. GT. : EDM Dethmachine
  • There has been no major issue to DATE but if there ever is one the folks in the preview program will be the ones directly affected so keep that in mind when you join.I personally like others taking the risk for me and appreciate the risk they take for me.Thanks to all you preview guys but you can sure keep it lol.
  • Look in the forum. Couple of us are doling them out.
  • I can invite anyone GT VisionaryHDx also I hate to look greedy, but I want to get something out of this so a donation to my PayPal or even for you to gameshare with me on Xbox One would be nice. Thanks  
  • Reported on the preview forums and to xbox live for trying to sell preview invites. Enjoy the preview programme, you won't be in it much longer. 
  • your a joke and should be banned from xbox .
  • Dovu have any invites left would love to join in if I got through if ya feel generous my gt is nazzz92
  • Thats not true , consoles have been bricked and some have had to wait a weeek for a fix patch early in the program and if it happend already it can always happen again , if you want more info there is tons in there web page and in the preview member forums if you want to get a look at how many got bricked back then , me i was lucky mine just glitched out for a day and they found a quick fix but any program that is dealing with testing software has a chance to hurt your console so saying they test it is hardley acurate and does not mean it wont wreck anything because then they would not need the program if that was true and what they test is a quick closed envirment test we are the ones testing it in a open enviorment  so its very diffrent .
  • Please join
  • Not really, most of the updates have been fairly stable; I think the worst one I had was a bug that throttled the Internet to the Xbox but that got fixed rapidly.
  • Well the retail install bug had hampered my console since I joined 7 months ago one of the things I read online was it wasn't clearing the ram properly at the end of game sessions even after factory reset after factory reset kinda like a bios based virus
  • i dont really know, but from what i kept reading on internet, it works similar to how developer preview worked on phones. definetely not like TP on phone...
  • Huh.  While I know that everyone somehow equates Entertainment = Games... what happened to the TV / Video sections?  I use my XBox for that as much as I use it for games.  It doesn't look like one of the left icons nor is it in the top menu/tabs.  (I hope this is not the final interface).
  • My question too... I don't need grandma getting confused and bothering me all the time. And I'm still waiting on TV Guide show reminders...
  • I love my Xbox. I love Larry's shirt. Its been one big week of Xbox love. Best year for console gaming evehhhhhhhhhhh
  • I second this. The UI does not seem geared towards media at all.
  • It's not really geard towards media now. I mean it has a TV & Video tab, but it's just suggestions. And you have to go to the store anyway so putting that under the Store tab makes sense to me. Otherwise you got your pins.
  • Any chance you found out whether cortana will work with headsets, or is it kinect only?
  • The only official word so far has been from the promo video that says Kinect. Many have tried to ask the question to be met by silence. Thing is, for it to work with a headset Microsoft would need to build in some kind of switch that activates when you plug in a headset. At least, that's what I'd imagine. No-way to have always listening without Kinect, so you need some kind of override. Perhaps one for the future.
  • Ah I agree with this, but with firmware updates on the controller and wireless firmware on newer ones, I wouldn't see why it would need a switch, since Cortana was easily (probably difficult, but done) added to the system with Windows 10
  • It would make sense to have Kinect do this. There is a bunch of processing power in the device itself. To have the head unit do it when they already built (optional) functionality into its (now optional) peripheral. I bought the Sunset edition XBox because I wanted white. I was holding out to see if. White Kinect would present itself. If Cortana appears, I'll buy the black one and be done with it. I also use XBO as media and game console about equally. Cortana would definitely be nifty. That and I'd like to see how useful commanding my pet minions in Dragon Age really is! Teehee.
  • Without Kinect, we can type.  We need a dedicated XB1 keyboard.
  • You can use a USB keyboard if you want. I just use Smartglass with my phone or one of my tablets.
  • It would be great to have a dedicated BT XB1 keyboard with XB1 navigation buttons on it.  With more W10 apps coming to XB1, the need for an integrated keyboard is increased.
  • Let's not turn the comments into a "PLEASE INVITE ME TO THE PREVIEW PROGRAM NOW PLZ" riot, folks. If you're looking for invites head into the forums, maybe there's folks there that can help. Pre-empting what will inevitably happen.
  • So is Win 10 replacing the Windows part of the 3-OS system, or the whole thing? Basically, will it still be 2 OSes running on top of a hypervisor? Or Windows 10 running everything?
  • They haven't gotten that technical, but I would imagine it would just replace the Windows OS part.
  • I imagine it would replace both the Windows VM (for apps) as well as the Hyper-V hypervisor (like if you updated Windows 8 with the Hyper-V feature installed to Windows 10... the hypervisor would definitely be updated too).
  • E3 2105!!? The Hololens must be more revolutionary than we thought!
  • Umm...2105 isn't here yet man, LOL! ;)
  • I think I'd need to really test the new ui because right now I'm not sure. What's happening with Universal Apps on the Xbox, I thought we would hear something about it?
  • Good question!
  • Universal apps will work, but developers still have to specifically publish to the XBox store, and the apps will have to go through the extra testing and certification process. For me, I'm waiting for the Insteon app to arrive on XBox. Combined with Cortana on XBox, that'll be magic!
  • Woohoo
  • Your gamertag?
  • Player246785740. Thanks :-)
  • Certainly rolls off the tongue, that one. ;)
  • XD
  • When will this new update roll out to Preview members?
  • Well with any that they've done with say 360 its usually in August & rtm by November
  • Who knows maybe sometime this summer
  • How do I get in the Xbox preview program?
  • http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/system/xbox-update-preview-faq
  • I seriously want to try this out.
  •  
    I know this is out of the subject but I hope someone can help   I hear that EA accsses is free throw E3 so is it correct if yes , How could I get the free accesse for EA ?throw this pormotion   Also the backward playable Xbox 360 games throw Xbox 1,,
    If I don't have xbox 360 but I want to download the gold membership games for Xbox 360 while I am only Xbox 1 gold membership is it possible? what i mean is it possible to download xbox 360 games if i dont have it ?
  • You have to own Xbox 360 games, whether you buy them through the Xbox 360 Store or physical copies. As for EA Access, you have to be Xbox Live Gold member and then just follow the links on the Xbox One dashboard. They'll take you through what you have to do
  • Ea access is free only for a week. You can find the app from the Xbox one store. You can't download 360 games on Xbox one if you are not in the preview program, but you can buy them on Xbox.com website and then they are attached to your account and can be downloaded later. Be sure to buy those free gold games for free when they are still free.
  • Even if you don't own a 360 or its in storage you can collect the games from the "Games with Gold" program trough Xbox.com website and then install it on the Xbox one.
  • If you have Xbox Live Gold, you can download the EA Access app on Xbox One and play EA Access games for the next 5 days. You don't need an Xbox 360 to get the games. You can buy Xbox 360 games (including 'free' Games with Gold games) from http://marketplace.xbox.com (or whatever it is in your region) and then you will own them. Once they are on the approved backwards compatibility list, they'll show up in your "read to install" section of the Games section of the My Games & Apps section of your Xbox One dashboard.
  • Once those games are added to the list of xbox 1 backwards compatible games, yes. They say they will have all the digital content (including digital versions of the games) available for every game that is backwards compatible. It's not in that state right now, obvioulsy, but eventually it will be. None of my Mass Effect 1 DLC is currently