E3 2016: New features coming to Xbox

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Screenshot 2016-06-15 03.37.21

During their E3 press conference this morning, Microsoft announced a couple of new features coming to Xbox including new UI updates, improvements to online play, and cross-buy with Xbox One and Windows 10:

Xbox Play Anywhere is one of the biggest announcements of the conference, creating a new approach to buying digital games. If you purchase a title with the tag ‘Xbox Play Anywhere’, you get both the Xbox One and Windows 10 copies of a game, when you buy either one. You can start playing a game one Xbox, and pick up where you left off on PC, letting you keep your progress across platforms. Here are some titles confirmed for cross-buy: Ark: Survival Evolved, Crackdown 3, Cuphead, Dead RIsing 4, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Killer Instinct, Phantom Dust, ReCore, Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and We Happy Few.

Gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10 can play select games together via cross-play, with games like Killer Instinct and #IDARB being compatible right now. Games like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves and Scalebound will support cross-play between their Xbox One and Windows 10 versions at launch. They also showcased Minecraft and cross-play between iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices, letting players from different mobile platforms to craft and adventure together.

New features will arrive in their Summer update (Winter for us Aussies), including Cortana, bringing new dynamic voice commands and a assisting players on Xbox One. Cortana will initially launch in the US and UK, and will be available in other countries soon after. I’m in the Xbox Preview Program and have had a chance to use Cortana on my Xbox One, although its very buggy right now, the voice commands are less robotic, and include new and more streamlined Xbox commands like “Hey Cortana, invite Ashton to a party” or “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather today?”

included in the Summer update will be Language region independance, giving gamers the freedom to chose any supported language for their console regardless of their location. Also, background music, letting you listen to your favourite music as you play.

Xbox are also looking to bring gamers together and include new Xbox Live features to break down barriers and make online play more accessible. Clubs on Xbox Live, introduces a new way to connect with gamers and create private communities with people who have similar interest and play styles.

Xbox plans to bring Looking for Group on Xbox Live, a feature that is similar to ‘LFG’ websites already out there that are dedicated to help gamers ‘advertise’ to find groups and players who are available and ‘qualified’ to jump into your multiplayer match – to bring this to Xbox is very convenient.

The third Xbox Live feature being Arena on Xbox Live, a platform that highlights the competitive gaming scene, where people can organise online tournaments. You’ll be able to sign up for tournaments directly through the Xbox UI, competing in games like SMITE, World of Tanks and FIFA17.

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