Of far more use are a vertical column of icons to the left of the screen, bringing you quickly to a list of Friends, Windows 10-style Notifications, a Parties icon to quickly group up you and your friends, and an icon to snap an app in part of the screen. Cortana, the embodiment of Windows 10, will appear later in the NXOE, complete with specialized commands focused on the Xbox experience.
Suffice it to say that much of the remainder of the content within the NXOE carries over from the previous version, with OneGuide and the corresponding channels of apps, the Store selling games, music, movies and TV shows, and apps.
The good stuff: backwards compatibility, game streaming
I’m disappointed to say that I haven’t had a chance to test out the One’s ability to play the older Xbox 360 games, in part because I owned a PlayStation 3 during the Xbox 360 generation. I never had a chance to play Red Dead Redemption, for example, as well as a number of other classic Xbox 360 titles.
I was a little disconcerted to discover, though, that a game I had purchased for the Xbox 360, Mass Effect, hadn’t shown up in my Xbox One queue even hours later. That’s not an auspicious start.
Game streaming, however, works like a charm. Using the Xbox app on Windows 10, you have the option to “remotely” connect to the console, provided both the PC and console are on the same network. Once connected, you can navigate the Xbox One on a notebook or tablet just the same as you would if you were seated in front of it, provided you have a Microsoft controller—Xbox 360, Xbox One, or the new Elite Controller—connected to the PC.
Graphics fidelity will suffer somewhat as Microsoft attempts to keep the framerate up and lag down. I never felt like I was lagging, though, either playing a racing game like Forza Horizon 2 or The Witcher III. Streaming a game will reduce the resolution compared to the native Xbox One, but I never felt cheated.
If you’d like, you can also adjust the graphics quality of the streamed content to suit your network; I really didn’t notice too much difference between the “medium” and “very high” streaming settings, although the Xbox app’s streaming metrics reported that streaming The Witcher III on medium required about 6 Mb/s in sustained throughput, while very high required between 9 and 10 Mb/s.
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