There’s an Xbox One update in the pipeline that looks like it’s going to make the console even better. South Africans who’ve had to wait ten months to get their hands on the Microsoft’s new console should be happy to know that their gaming machines are considerably more polished – and are about to get even more so – than they were when everyone else got them last year.

Of particular interest are the improvements to the Xbox One’s multi-tasking. For those not in the know, that means its ability to run applications alongside games, which Microsoft refers to as “snapping”, something that’s been refined to the point where commenters like Kotaku’s Stephen Totillo are starting to say it’s actually becoming useful now.

Snap-happy apps

When the update rolls out, snapping will be activated by double-tapping the Xbox button on the controller or by saying “Xbox, snap XX” if you own a Kinect (with XX being whatever it is you want to snap, like Achievements or your Friends list). That brings up a cross-shaped menu that is superimposed over your game that presents you with options as to what you’d like to snap, a big change from the previous approach that required you to manage snapping from the Home screen.

Snapped apps are arranged along the right side of the screen, and many have been redesigned to let you do useful things with them while in that state.

The new snappable Achievements app that rolled out earlier this year, for example, now lets you see which of your friends have unlocked achievements in the games you’re playing. The Xbox One’s Friends List and Messaging apps have finally been added to the list of snappable apps; seeing them next to whatever you’re playing makes keeping an eye on what your friends are up to and managing your messages possible without having to navigate away from your game. Microsoft has also added a shortcut to saving the last 30 seconds of game footage – simply double tap the Xbox button and press X, and it’s done.

That’s not all, folks

Other cool new features coming in the October update include support for native playback of .MKV video files, new features to the Friends section of the dashboard and DLNA compatibility so you can stream media from other DLNA-compatible devices across your home network to the Xbox One.

If you’d like to see the update in action before it officially rolls out sometime in October, you will need to be part of Microsoft’s preview beta programme, which unfortunately you can only join if invited by Microsoft. Should you get the nod, you’ll see the invitation appear on your Xbox One, and all you’ll need to do then is accept it and register your account for beta access.

Fortunately October is almost here so there isn’t long to wait before the update rolls out for everyone. For an in-depth look at the changes that include even more than just Snap updates, check out Microsoft’s official video detailing them all.

[Source – Xbox Wire]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.