Roughly two years after its launch, Microsoft’s Xbox One entertainment console is well on its way to mending a seriously broken relationship with gamers. Potential buyers demoralized by Microsoft’s decisions early on, turned to other consoles for their fix. A mix of smart marketing, exclusive games, new software and a plan to bring Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One are what Microsoft hopes brings users back this holiday shopping season.
It seems that Microsoft’s plan is working. There are more people than ever purchasing an Xbox One entertainment console, according to the company. Two years in, there’s a lot of nuance to owning an Xbox One. Here’s some essential tips to get new Xbox One owners up to speed with the features of their new living room companion.
Create Multiple Accounts for Multiple People
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when setting up their new console in the living room is creating just a single account for it. One account for consoles meant for a single person are one thing. Don’t do this if the Xbox One is meant for an entire family. Parents should create a single account for themselves rather than create child accounts for everyone else that’ll be using the Xbox One. This helps prevent a lot of headaches down the road.
Use Your Microsoft Account
You’re going to need to create a Microsoft Account to setup your Xbox One. Be sure to use the same Microsoft Account that you use on the company’s other platforms. If you have an Outlook.com account or a Windows PC, simply use the username and password for those.
Mute Microphones & More From the Guide
The new software that Microsoft rolled out for the Xbox One last month includes a new Guide that puts quick-setting changes a few button presses away. Press the Xbox logo on your controller twice quickly to open the Guide. Here you’ll find a list of all your friends, ways to create an Xbox One Party and settings for adjusting Chat Headset volume.
Get Xbox Live Gold
Getting the most out of your Xbox One console requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription. It’s a requirement for storing game clips online, playing with other Xbox One owners around the world and deep discounts on new titles.
Xbox Live Gold costs $9.99 a month or $59.99 year. GameStop, Target, Wal-Mart and more have pre-paid cards for purchase. You can also get the service directly through your console in the Store. You’ll only need to purchase Xbox Live Gold for a single account on your console. Everyone else on that console gets to use your subscription — even if you aren’t logged in.
Check Xbox.com For Status Updates
Sometimes, the influx of people trying to rush onto Xbox Live at the same time causes service issues. If something on your console isn’t working correctly for you, go to Xbox.com and check the service’s status. Any issues related to the service are posted there in real-time.
Snap An App
The Xbox One allows you to run a game or watch video with another app on the right side of your screen. With a Kinect sensor, triggering this is as easy as saying, “Xbox, Snap..” and the name of the app you’re trying to snap.
Double tap the glowing Xbox logo on your controller to open the Xbox Guide. Use the joystick to go to the last option available, labeled Snap. Select an app to snap to the side of your screen from this menu. You can unsnap an app by coming back to the Xbox Guide.
Use Triggers & Bumpers to Navigate Faster
Trying to navigate quickly around the Xbox One interface? All of the menus on the home screen can be quickly navigated with buttons on the controller. To switch between Home, Community, OneGuide and Store press the RB and LB buttons on your controller. When at the bottom of a list of options, press the LT button to quickly go up. Press the RT trigger to quickly go down.
Watch This Week on Xbox Videos
Sometimes Xbox Live can feel very isolating. To connect with friends, see the latest status updates for the games that you follow head to the Community area. There’s also a video show there called This Week on Xbox to keep you abreast of the latest game releases, updates, features and sells.
Unlock Some of Your Games from the Xbox 360
With the Xbox One Backwards Compatibly Program, Xbox One upgraders can keep some of their Xbox 360 games going free of charge. Place a compatible Xbox 360 in the Xbox One and it unlocks a digital download from the Xbox Store that works on the Xbox One. Any game saves from the Xbox 360 version are transferred over with the download.
Microsoft plans to keep adding Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility Program on a regular basis.
Install Xbox SmartGlass
Microsoft’s Xbox companion apps are your gateway to the Xbox One whether you’re home or away. Available for iPhone and Android, these apps let you purchase games, read status messages, browse Achievement progress and control the Xbox One. It’ll even stream broadcast television for users with the Xbox One TV Adapters. Separately there’s the Xbox app for Windows 10 devices. This app includes everything that SmartGlass does, plus Party Chat and video recording for PC games.
Besides video games, Xbox One lets you interact with your cable or satellite box using voice commands and a streamlined OneGuide. You’ll need to configure it with some details about your subscription, but it’s loads better than using the built-in guides from Comcast and other operators. What’s more, you’ll be able to watch television and still play your games.