Xbox One: Cortana, background music and dev kits

cortana windows 10 xbox oneAt yesterday’s Microsoft Build conference, Phil Spencer took to the stage to relay some information that will certainly please Xbox One fans. Coming this summer, players will soon be able to talk to Cortana on their consoles, similarly to Siri and on Windows 10. But there’s more.

“We’ve said from the start we want Xbox One to be a great place for games and also a great place for developers of all sizes so you can create new games and application experiences,” said Xbox boss Phil Spencer. “Today I’m pleased to announce Xbox Dev Mode, giving developers the ability to convert their retail Xbox One into a development kit.”

That’s right. Any retail Xbox One can be turned into a developer kit for aspiring game developers to build their games on. A similar feature was available on the Xbox 360, in the XNA developer suite, which saw the rise of a particular hit called ‘Dust: An Elysian Tail’, which was mostly developed by a single individual, and is an amazing story, even now.

Cortana will be making her way to the Xbox One this summer too, allowing users of Kinect to interact with her similarly to how you currently command your console. Instead of saying ‘Xbox’, you will say ‘Cortana’, who will be more involved with offering up information as opposed to commanding the console to load games, pause media or switch off. You can see her in action from 4:15 in the video below.

Lastly, we have the oft-requested background music application, which has previously been announced as a summer update. This will allow you to play games with music of your choice in the background. Let’s hope this can be achieved with external devices, music stored to the hardrive, or streaming services. No longer will you need to snap a media playing app, reducing your screen’s size.

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