It?ll soon be a new month, and that means another firmware update to bring Xbox One owners a fresh crop of updates and features for their consoles.
Here are the official feature notes for the August 2014 Xbox One update:
Activity feed updates: We?re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed. The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We?ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to ?like? and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publically (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You?ll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and ?like? specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).
Expanded Friends area on Home: Right from Home, see what?s going on with your friends. Stay up-to-date with their current activity, the top trending games your friends are playing, and a leaderboard to see who has been working the hardest on their Gamerscore. We?re doing an extended preview on this, rolling it into the early access preview this month to a subset of our preview audience so we can refine it until it?s ready for the entire Xbox One market.
Mobile purchase: One of the most requested features on Xbox Feedback. Using Xbox SmartGlass or on Xbox.com, you can remotely purchase games and Add-on content. No more waiting to begin downloading when you get home ? if your console is set to automatically take updates, your console will begin downloading your purchase.
Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.
Disable notifications during video: Adding the ability to turn off notifications based feedback we heard from you.
Enabling 3D Blu-ray: An update to the Blu-ray player app will enable 3D Blu-ray functionality on Xbox One.
OneGuide in Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland: Live TV listings can be configured for four new countries as part of this month?s Preview program. And now there is an OneGuide Issue Reporter available under the TV & OneGuide settings, Troubleshooting section.
Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it?s been since a friend has been online. For example, ?Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.?
I?ve got to really hand it to Microsoft?they?re killing it when it comes to these updates for the Xbox One. Every month, something about the system gets better, fixed, or updated. Removing the player bar from the main home page is going to take some getting used to, but everything else here is looking interesting, especially the new activity feed. I don?t know that I like the idea of each Achivement getting its own box in that feed, though?that list can quickly get filled up with Achievement announcements, getting in the way of more interesting or useful information.
Meanwhile, Sony has only gotten one major update for the PlayStation 4 out there, with no guarantee on when current features will be made better or long-awaited options will finally be added. It is really so much to ask that I finally be able to sort my games into folders like I?ve been able to do on the PS3 for years now?
To be fair, both companies were really bad with not including a lot of features for their new systems that were already on the previous platforms, with a lot of unacceptable omissions on both consoles at launch. Both sides are now playing catch-up to where they were before, and it could be argued that Microsoft was farther behind in that regard when looking at how the Xbox One launched. On both consoles, though, I’d rather see their parent companies building new and exciting options for making our gaming experiences better, instead of having to spend so much time fixing things that shouldn’t have been broken or missing in the first place.