Microsoft has some really big plans for the next major Xbox One system update, being dubbed as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The major overhaul to the way the Xbox One's OS operates will head into the preview phase at the end of May and the early part of June, with some major announcements about the OS set to take place during E3.
According to Gamespot, Microsoft unveiled the anniversary update at the annual Build conference, in which some of the expected updates for the Xbox One's system update will include the much-anticipated feature to turn any consumer Xbox One into a development kit. Mike Ybarra from the Windows and Xbox division sent out a tweet confirming when the preview build would be available.
The devkit feature has been touted for a while and there were discussions on and off about the feature since the release of the Xbox One, but it would be a pretty big feature to have for the console as it would allow a lot of indie developers the freedom to work on games for the Xbox One without the roadblocks of certification and approval from Microsoft. It could easily open up the development for the console to become faster and more streamlined for smaller studios. Of course, content curation would become a much higher priority if Microsoft did decide to pursue that route.
Other expected features to make their debut during the anniversary update for the Xbox One includes the background music feature. This has been requested since the release of the Xbox One, when gamers found out that one of the most popular Xbox 360 features was not present in the Xbox One. It was just another item in a long line of items that gamers were disappointed with when it came to the eighth gen home console. If background music makes a proper return, it would be a nice addition to the console's features that was a staple selling point since the OG Xbox back in the early aughts.
Another expected feature to make its debut is Cortana. The AI assistant is already available on Windows Phones but Cortana making the leap to the Xbox One is long overdue. The character originally made her debut in Bungie's Halo on the OG Xbox, and now she's evolved to the point where she's now a cross-media character. It would have seemed more reasonable to have Cortana appear on the Xbox One before smart devices, but it's better late than never.
I do wonder that if they do decide to unleash a full version of Cortana on the Xbox One, will they further improve Kinect interactivity? It would seem like Cortana could help become a selling point for the Kinect 2.0 if it actually works properly. One of the big issues with the Xbox One and Kinect is that it just seemed like it was poorly implemented as an afterthought. Having Cortana offer vocal feedback while people talk to their screen will at least feel a lot more organic and better integrated than the initial launch of Kinect 2.0.
We'll be able to get a full taste of the new anniversary features for the Xbox One at this year's E3 on June 13 at 9:30am PST.