Windows 10 will get its next major update on April 11, Microsoft announced Wednesday. Already in preview for a number of months, the Creators Update contains features aimed at creative professionals as well as the average user, and will roll out in waves to the general public via Windows Update.
What’s In It
The Creators Update is the first version of Windows 10 to include the Windows Mixed Reality interface, which will ultimately allow users to purchase relatively affordable VR headsets and use them with the operating system. While many of the promised headsets have yet to hit the market, developers have already begun tinkering with prototypes provided by Acer and other partner companies.
A new 3D Paint app that comes with the operating system will allow users to create three-dimensional objects.
Microsoft has also included new gaming features, including Game Mode–a setting that optimizes performance for gaming–and Beam streaming.
Users will see improvements to Microsoft Edge, including tabs with image previews and better security. And a new Cortana-guided setup process will give users more control over their privacy settings.
A new game developer program from Microsoft allows for fast, simultaneous publishing of Xbox Live-enabled games to Xbox One and Windows 10.
Announced at this week’s Game Developer Conference, the Xbox Live Creators Program is currently in preview. Developers who sign up gain access to the Xbox Live Creators SDK, and can integrate the following features into their games, according to Microsoft:
Xbox Live sign-in and profile, including gamertag.
Xbox Live presence, recently played and activity feed.
Xbox Live social, including friends, Game Hubs, clubs, party chat, gameDVR and Beam broadcast.
Xbox Live leaderboards and feature stats.
Title Storage and Connected Storage.
Participating developers can build games using Construct 2, MonoGame, Unity and Xenko, then ship them to either Xbox One, Windows 10 or both. Games built under the program will appear in a special ‘Creators’ section in the Xbox Store.
The new program aims to simplify the process for getting games into the Xbox Store without the need for a lengthy certification or concept approval. Developers can apply here and start building, with Microsoft saying publishing will be available in the near future.
However, the Xbox Live features available under the Creators Program are limited. Anyone who wants to take advantage of the full set of Xbox Live features, plus marketing and development support, will still need to join Microsoft’s existing ID@Xbox program.… Read more
How do I protect my Xbox in dev mode? Can I publish my non-game app to Xbox One?
Now that Microsoft is further opening up the Xbox platform to developers, you might have questions about either bringing an existing UWP app to Xbox, or developing directly for the gaming console.
Microsoft’s recent live video training and Twitter chat answered some of those questions in a bid to attract more developers to the platform. If you missed it, the company has posted a detailed recap online with video clips and an FAQ.
Questions range from the detail-oriented—frame rate limits, whether there’s a screen capture API for UWP—to the strategic (whether to build for Xbox first or build a PC/mobile app and convert it).
Session videos focus on XAML and web apps, design best practices and publishing to the Windows Store.
Microsoft last month announced that devs who’ve built games and apps using the Windows 10 Anniversary Update SDK can publish them directly to the Xbox Store, opening up a marketing avenue that was previously unavailable to smaller, independent developers.
Developers who’ve built apps and games using the Windows 10 Anniversary Update SDK can now offer them in the Xbox Store. The change is part of a number of Dev Center updates announced Monday by Microsoft.
Games submitted to Xbox One will still be subject to concept approval. “This ensures games on Xbox deliver the experience our players expect,” reads a Microsoft blog post announcing the changes. The company encourages developers to join the ID@Xbox program before submitting games targeting the platform.
The move opens the Xbox Store to smaller, independent developers who were previously excluded from marketing there, according to Windows Central.
In other new features, Dev Center now offers a gradual package rollout option for developers who want to test app updates with a small percentage of customers before bringing them to all devices. And package flighting–previously only available for PC and mobile apps–is now also available for apps and games targeting Xbox One. There’s also an option to configure your app to require an update before it will run.
New analytics options for Dev Center Insiders include custom notifications for specific customer segments, and real-time reporting. And those are just some of the changes in what looks like a fairly meaty update to the Dev Center.… Read more
Microsoft will host a virtual event on Tuesday, August 30 for developers interested in developing apps for Xbox One.
According to a Microsoft announcement, the event starts at 9:00 Pacific Time and will cover:
What’s new in the Anniversary Update SDK and how to get started with app development for Xbox One
How to get started developing apps using both XAML and Web technologies
How to design and create impressive TV experiences
How to publish your app to the Store and make it available for over 350 Million Windows devices including Xbox
Microsoft’s Play Anywhere initiative will allow select Xbox One games to be played on PCs, further integrating Xbox with Windows 10 and potentially broadening the market for games. It’s set to launc September 13.
Microsoft has also been wooing developers to the platform. As of this year, developers can now enable Dev Mode on any retail Xbox controller after opening a Dev Center account and installing the latest version of Visual Studio 2015.
Click here for more information about the virtual event and to register. Developers can use the hashtag #XboxAppDev for live Q&A during the event.
One day into the E3 gaming expo, Microsoft has already made a slew of Xbox-related announcements.
But perhaps most interesting for developers is that the company is moving forward with its plans to integrate Xbox and PC gaming. Its new ‘Play Anywhere‘ initiative will allow gamers to start a game on Xbox One, pause it, then resume play on a PC—or vice versa. Those purchasing the digital version of a game will automatically get both the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions.
That’s in keeping with Microsoft’s general ambitions to make its software available anytime, anywhere, rather than being tied to the purchase of particular hardware. It also means, of course, that the games need to be built on the Universal Windows Platform to function properly. Some new games like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Halo Wars 2 already support Play Anywhere, and Microsoft says more titles are on the way.
As a logical companion to Play Anywhere, Microsoft is also introducing cross play, letting PC and Xbox gamers battle it out with each other.
And since it wouldn’t be E3 without some hardware announcements, Microsoft said it’s working on not one but two new consoles: XBox One S, a slimmed-down version of Xbox One that debuts in Auguest; and Project Scorpio, a 4K resolution system with virtual reality capabilities that’s slated for Fall 2017.… Read more