Xbox Summer Update: the key features parsed down for your perusal

Discover what's new, what's better and how to get the most out of Microsoft's long-awaited software update

Slightly lost amidst the launch of the brand new Xbox One S, the Xbox Summer Update 2016 has just been released and, simply put, it is a biggy. Microsoft say it has been working on the update all year and it clear why, with a dump truck load of new features and improvements landing on the system.

To save you time, time that you could use to read more T3 or play more video games, here are all the key new additions simply layed out for easy consumption.

Xbox One

Background Music: The update brings the ability for the highly requested feature of Background Music, which lets you listen to your favorite music in the background while gaming on Xbox One. The Pandora app, launching soon, is the first of many partners who will support Background Music, with Groove Music, iHeartRadio and other apps coming later.

Cortana on Xbox One: Cortana is now available on Xbox One in the U.S. and U.K. With Cortana, gamers can expect more from voice commands on Xbox. In addition to more commands and greater accuracy with natural language and text dictation, Cortana provides the ability to use a headset or Kinect. You’ll be able to use Cortana to find great new games, see what your friends are up to, start a party, accomplish common tasks, turn on your Xbox One if you’re using Kinect, and more. We’ll continue to build more Cortana features over time as part of our vision to have Cortana be your personal digital assistant for gaming.

Improved Game Collection: We’ve updated the Game Collection interface to make it faster and easier to find and launch the games you’re looking for. Now you’ll be able to sort, manage and see more of your Game Collection easily, quickly access your own ‘Ready to Install’ tab, update your games or apps using the new ‘Updates’ tab, and get more information about titles in your queue.

Language Region Independence: Based on overwhelming fan feedback, we’ve enabled Language Region Independence to give gamers even more control over their Xbox experience. Language Region Independence allows you to choose any supported language on Xbox One, regardless of the location. For example, if you’re in the U.S. and move to Germany, you can now keep your language set to English on Xbox One and enjoy your experiences in English.

Xbox and Windows Store convergence: We’re starting to combine the best of the Xbox Store and Windows Store to give gamers a single cohesive experience across their devices. On Xbox One, we’ve streamlined the shopping experience to help you find the games you love faster and at the best prices. You’ll be able to filter search results by genre, read reviews written by fellow gamers – including those voted “most helpful” by the Xbox Live community – easily recognize what titles are on sale with strikethrough pricing in lists, and more. We’ve also added several new channels to help you discover the content you love even faster.

Facebook Friend Finder: Now on the Xbox One, connect your Facebook account to your Xbox Live account to find your Xbox playing Facebook Friends. You only need to connect your account once via Facebook Login; if you’ve already gone through the steps on the Xbox app for Windows 10, iOS or Android, then you’re all set! Otherwise, now you have the option to log into your Facebook account from your Xbox One, making it easier to find more people to play games and have fun with.

Improved sharing on Xbox One: We’ve made it easier to share your screenshots, GameDVR clips, and achievements on Xbox One. Gamers can now share their most epic clips and screenshots with the community right from home. We’ve also updated the Activity Feed settings so you can now decide what will get automatically shared to your feed.

Xbox app and Windows 10 PC gaming

Top Windows 10 PC games show up on Xbox Live: We’re bringing the top Windows 10 PC games like League of Legends and XCOM 2 together with the Xbox Live community. Meaning, your favorite Windows 10 PC games will have their own Game Hubs on Xbox Live. Whether you’re on your PC, Xbox One, or mobile phone, you’ll be able to see what PC games your friends are playing, share your own PC gaming clips and screenshots with the community, and message your friends on Xbox Live. On both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, you‘ll also be able to party chat with your friends no matter what they’re doing.

60 fps game clip recording with the Game Bar: Using the new “Very High” video quality setting in the Xbox app, you will be able to record your game clips in up to 60 frames per second from the Game Bar (Windows + G) once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update starts to roll out on Aug. 2.

Windows Game Bar improved full-screen support: One of the most common requests we see for the Windows 10 GameDVR feature is the ability to use the Windows Game Bar with more games running in full-screen. We’ve added support for six additional games in full-screen mode with Windows Game Bar: League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2, Battlefield 4, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and Diablo III. With those games, once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update starts to roll out on Aug. 2, you’ll be able to use Windows + G to bring up the Windows Game Bar when the game is running full-screen.

Xbox app on mobile

Xbox app on iOS and Android: Announced and released during E3, the Xbox app is now available on iOS and Android. The Xbox app brings together your friends, games and accomplishments across all of your devices. Now, you can stay connected to the Xbox Live community, see what your friends are playing, share game clips and screenshots, and view achievements through the Xbox app on Windows 10, iOS and Android devices.