October Xbox One update: Avatars and Alexa and Dolby! Oh My!

One of the admirable things that Microsoft has done with the Xbox One, has been to constantly add new features to the system on a fairly regular basis.

This tradition continues, last week the October update rolled out for the Xbox One and it is filled with all kinds of joy.

AVATARS

Avatars are back, baby! Okay, they technically didn’t leave, but it has been a much neglected feature since the Xbox One was launched, oh so many moons ago.

There have been rumblings that the Avatar system was getting fully revamped for at least a year now, and finally, Microsoft has shown off their new feature.

And it is kind of neat.

My previous avatar looked like it had leaped out of a cartoon and had a sort of child like movement. My avatar now… pussyfoots and laughs with maniacal glee.

 

You can customize a great many details of your avatar with a wide range of color options. Robot limbs, sportswear, props, accessories, there are more than a few free options to create a vibrant and expressive avatar. You can also set a “Mood” with your avatar. My mood is set on “villain”. Bwahahaha… ahem. You can then choose a background and pose your avatar to make a   that will show off your new avatar to all of your friends.

The only criticism I have for this new system is the lack of premium options available. There is some paid content but it is the same kind of generic content that plagued the avatar system for the 360. (You wanted to look sort of like Fenix from Gears of War, right? Right? Well, for $4.99, you can!) Quick note: I am not knocking paying for things for your avatar. In the 360 days, I bought a few delightful things for my avatar, however every paid listing in the avatar store was, in my opinion, very yawn worthy.

Undoubtedly more options will be added down the road. Until that time, you too can be a villain, a superhero, or a patchwork cyborg.

The new Avatar Editor can be found in the App Store.

Xbox Skill

Xbox Skill is an app that has added vocal functionality for Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices. While there has always been a very rudimentary voice command presence on the One since launch (via headset or the now-extinct Kinect), it was a very sluggish and easily confused feature.

Xbox Skill allows you to command your console with a control and precision that gamers have long dreamt of utilizing. Powering up the console, starting a game, controlling the volume, and starting a broadcast are among the many things your voice can now control, with precision, on your Xbox One.

Taking advantage of this, Amazon is bundling Xbox One consoles with an Alexa Dot. The future is now, hopefully we won’t have to yell at the tv to watch a show or start a game anymore.

Xbox Skill can be found in either the Alexa or Cortana Skill Store.

Dolby Vision

Dolby Vision will enable you to stream dynamic HDR off of an online streaming site, offering a more vibrant High Definition picture than what is currently available through streaming services. (As long as that streaming service is Netflix, the only company on board for now.) You will also need a TV capable of HDR to notice a difference.

Dolby Vision can be activated in your Display section of your Settings Menu.

Languages for Narrator

Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Swedish, Dutch, and Australian English have been added to the Narrator, allowing for more  accessibility.

So there you have it, quite a lot from this latest update. Some fun things, some possibly very promising things, and avatars pussyfooting like a boss.

Have an Xbox? Check out the new avatar system and drop a pic of your new and improved avatar in the comments.

Actor, writer, director, and bald guy. Plus I play video games.

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