The Xbox One dashboard has been through some significant changes since it first came on the scene. Now, another major update is on the way, which will see one key feature removed entirely. The Creators Update went live to members of the Xbox Insider Program this week and while it saw a number of features added, it also saw one feature removed. According to Microsoft's Mike Ybarra, removing the Snap feature will significantly increase the console's speed.
When the Xbox One first launched the console tried to be not just a video game system but also a complete media set top box. It has the ability to run your cable or satellite box through the console so that the Xbox can be your primary media device. One of the features that was created in order to increase this functionality was the Snap feature, which allowed users to open up a secondary window on the right side of the screen in order to run a second app or video screen while also performing a primary task. This meant you could watch television while playing a game or surf the web without pausing the movie you were watching on Netflix. Members of the Insider Program have now lost this ability, while everybody else will lose it when the new update goes live to all Xbox One users.
According to Mike Ybarra's tweet, the idea is that removing the feature will speed up the console as well as free up resources that the dashboard can use for other things in the future. It's not clear if they have something specific in mind regarding those "bigger things" or just figured now was a good time to take the feature out for the speed reasons alone. For the most part, the response to the change looks to be positive. Some users are certainly hoping that the feature returns in some form, but they don't necessarily feel bad to see Snap going away.
While Xbox wanted the One to be a major media destination, it's clear that many gamers were never interested in that. Few probably used the snap feature very often, which is why the faster dashboard seems to be preferable.
As somebody who is part of the Insider Program and has used the new dashboard, I can vouch for the system's newfound speed. The sidebar menu that pops when you tap the Xbox Button now comes up much faster than it used to, and the redesign allows you to jump between your recent and most used apps faster than before since you no longer need to jump to the home screen in between. Everything about the Creator's Update seems to be faster, which just makes the entire system more pleasant to use.
My Xbox One actually is my primary setup box, but having said that, I rarely found a use for the Snap feature. Surfing the web while playing a game occasionally wasn't a terrible idea, but it wasn't always the easiest thing to accomplish in practice. Jumping between the two windows wasn't always smooth and the whole thing did just run slower overall, which made it less that useful.
This update seems to be a significant improvement overall. Would you like to see the Snap feature return in some improved form or are you glad to see it go?