Microsoft has rolled out their latest firmware update for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, adding a number of new features, including the ability to turn on your console and access various features using Google Home touch controls, the option to hide game art on the home menu, and more.
Perhaps most headline-grabbing is the addition of “carbon-aware” downloads and updates, which, bizarrely, was picked up on by Fox News and conservative commentators who tried to frame it as “The woke brigade is gunning for your Xbox!” In reality, it just means you can schedule downloads and updates for low-energy-use windows, which could be helpful in places where energy use is restricted during certain hours. Even if that isn’t a concern where you live, carbon-aware updates could save you a few bucks on your energy bill, ensure big downloads aren’t starting in the middle of the day when you need the Wi-Fi bandwidth, and maybe do an itty-bitty amount of good for the environment.
Here are a few more details on what’s included in the latest Xbox system update…
Xbox is now the first console to offer carbon aware game downloads and updates
Hide game art when selecting tiles on Home
“Some players find game art distracting or prefer a more simplified background while navigating their Home screen. With this new feature gamers can hide game art so it will no longer replace the Home background each time you move to select a game tile. Instead, the Home background will always remain the solid color of your choice. To adjust your background, navigate to Settings > General > Personalization > My background > Solid color and game art. On this page you can choose to show or hide game art with the toggle in the bottom right of the screen.”
Use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for your Xbox console.
“Since 2019, you’ve been able to control your Xbox console using voice commands with Google Assistant. Today, we’ve partnered with Google so that you can use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for your Xbox console. Now, when you add your Xbox console to your Google Home app, you’ll be able to easily turn your console on and off, navigate on-screen, control media playback, and more. You can use the Google Home app to command your Xbox like you do for other Smart Home devices.”
Jump back into a party with your friends
“We’re experimenting with some different experiences to make it easy to jump back into a party with your friends. As we roll this out, a random subset of users will be able to give it a try. To get started, go to the “Parties & Chats” tab in the guide on your Xbox console. Click on the “Party” or “Party History” button. You’ll see a list of your previous parties, which you can use to restart one of those parties or create a new one. You can also easily select which friends you want to invite.”
The latest Xbox system update should be available to download now.
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