Xbox One System Update Adds Game Hubs and Tile Transparency

February update also adds raft of TV updates; Preview members begin beta tests.

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Microsoft has detailed its first Xbox One system update of 2015, which introduces info hubs for each game, tile transparency on the Dashboard, as well as an assortment of other improvements and tweaks.

The system update, scheduled to go live in February, is now available for beta testing by those who have entered into the preview program.

At the centre of the Xbox One update is Game Hubs, which are attached to every game when selected on the Dashboard. These hubs will pool together information such as video clips, leaderboards, and friend activity.

Meanwhile, custom backgrounds will be given more exposure with transparency options on Dashboard tiles. Microsoft notes, however, that some tiles cannot be made as transparent due to restrictions on amending logos from third-party partners.

The update also includes various tweaks to the TV software, such as OneGuide and Trending.

Since the launch of the Xbox One in November 2013, Microsoft has taken a proactive approach to platform updates, and usually rolls out new system software on a monthly basis. The company says that, in 2014 alone, it had introduced more than 100 new features and adjustments to the operating system.

In June, Microsoft opened a dedicated feedback site for customers to request specific fixes.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has made significant changes to the console's hardware, first by improving ESRAM performance, and then with an update that adjusts the Xbox One's CPU performance so that more processing resources can be used by games.

"We’re excited to start the New Year off on the right foot by continuing our commitment to making Xbox One the best place to play," Microsoft said.

At the time of going to press, there is no specific release date announced for the February update.

The list of changes, written by Microsoft, can be found below.

  • Game hubs New in preview this month, game hubs are the go-to centers for all sorts of interesting content around your favorite games. Every Xbox One game will have a game hub where you can see which of your friends are playing the game, compete with your friends in game leaderboards, dive into the coolest game clips and game broadcasts, and follow the game’s VIPs and top players.
    To get to the game hub for your favorite game, find a game in your pins, recently played list, or My games and apps, then press the Menu button and select View game hub. You can also search for any game in the Xbox Store and click on the game hub tile from the game’s store page.
  • Custom backgrounds and tile transparency – We listened to your feedback and added additional tile transparency to the Home tiles to make your background images more visible. As a reminder, to set a custom background, go to Settings > My Xbox> My background. Note: some items can’t be made transparent due to usage rights/restrictions for certain images.
  • TV updates – We’re releasing a lot of updates to the live TV experience and features are being released to additional countries in preview this month:
    • OneGuide for the Netherlands – Support for OneGuide will continue in preview for the Netherlands and the missing channels for the Netherlands OneGuide listings will become available over the next few weeks.
    • TV trending in OneGuide – As you scan the detailed OneGuide TV listings, you can see which shows are trending by a “Trending on Xbox” note and associated icon. Xbox – live TV trending is based on the number of Xbox One owners currently watching that show in each country, pulled from anonymous data collected at a national level. Currently, Xbox TV trending is available to all members in the U.S., UK and Canada.
    • Live TV trending (new countries) France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico will begin seeing live TV trending data in Xbox OneGuide.
    • Improved control of TVs, set-top boxes and audio/video receivers – Xbox One will work even better with more devices. This month’s preview release contains updates to the IR blasting database for new models and addresses issues reported by our fan community.
    • “Trick play” with Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – Preview members with the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in supported countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) will now be able to see video frames when fast-forwarding or rewinding paused TV on your Xbox One consoles.
    • Live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android – We are continuing the preview of live TV streaming on Windows Phone and Android devices for Xbox One Digital TV Tuner owners in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

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