Xbox One update revamps store with Top Free, Top Paid categories

As Microsoft paves way for Windows 10 apps.

Microsoft's next major Xbox One update further blurs the lines between the console and Windows 10, and revamps the platform's store with Top Free and Top Paid categories.

This summer will see the first Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps arrive on Xbox One and use the same code for both systems. UWP apps already work on Xbox One - the first to do so is the Xbox Avatar app - but the real changes will come when third-parties get involved.

During a tour of the new dashboard provided by Microsoft, we spotted Windows 10 and mobile platform style Top Free and Top Paid categories have been introduced, underneath the main New Games section.

Free Xbox games are currently fairly uncommon - with some high-profile exceptions such as Killer Instinct and World of Tanks. But the change makes sense when you consider the flood of Windows 10 games which are free to download.

I asked what curation, if any, Microsoft might provide for UWP apps headed to Xbox One, but was only told the matter was still under discussion. Would someone be able to release a UWP SNES emulator, for example?

Microsoft simply said there would be some level of sense-checking - so don't expect to see UWP apps on console that don't make sense being there, such as a Microsoft Excel for Xbox One.

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The new vertically-scrolling Games & Apps section. It's tidier, although not as pretty as some of the fan-made suggestions.

Elsewhere in the update, Windows 10's virtual assistant Cortana has now been baked in to the firmware. The Halo heroine was feeling uncooperative when I saw the firmware being demoed, but you're meant to be allowed to chat with her in a more natural style than the Kinect commands offered previously. You can also now use a headset to control your console via voice.

You now activate voice commands with a "Hey, Cortana" - the same as on Windows 10. It's more of a mouthful, but it provides the Xbox hardware with a longer phrase to hook on to, I was told. This meant it was more successful at understanding quick commands - and will hopefully mean less of you shouting "XBOX ON" at your telly until the console finally decides to wake.

Cortana will let you speak more conversationally - she'll understand a wider range of questions, let you ask what your friends are doing, and finally provide smarter game or app name recognition. It means you can say "Let's play Forza" instead of "Xbox go to Forza Motorsport 5". If you have multiple games that "Forza" could relate to then you'll get a list to options to choose from.

The rest of the update is filled with smaller quality of life upgrades, all of which come from features requested by Xbox fans.

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Windows 10's Xbox app is rapidly becoming a PC version of the Xbox One dashboard.

Your game and app library is now accessed via a new button on the top right of the console's home screen - there's no need to scroll down to get there. The collection now has a vertical scroll and extra options to sort games, although it is still pretty bare looking.

Downloads now show on your console home screen via another new tile which will spawn just underneath your library button. It'll show you the percentage downloaded, your download speed and more.

You can also now turn off the automatic sharing of things like Achievements and game clips in your Activity Feed, find and add your Facebook friends if they're on Xbox Live, while the Windows 10 Xbox app now has improved tools for clipping and saving DVR footage.

I'm also told the update lays the ground work for HoloLens, although there's nothing yet visible to show for it.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

News Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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