Xbox One Updates: External Hard Drive Support, Real Name Display and More

Microsoft will release its latest firmware version for Xbox One this week and details have been announced about what exactly we can expect from the June update – including that long promised support for external storage devices and away from the console itself, some improvements to the Xbox One SmartGlass companion app and rewards for Xbox Live Gold subscribers have been added.

Here are the biggest additions arriving with the new wave of updates.

External Hard Drive Support:

The support for USB 3.0 connected hard drives has been a while coming but is finally here and allows gamers to boost their Xbox One memory capacity, saving games, apps and backing up data away from the console’s own storage. Microsoft will enable the use of up to two storage units boosting the standard 500GB by more than 256GB. This can be no less though as the console will not recognise a device of any lower capacity, but the potential is there for terabytes of additional storage space.

Microsoft states that when connected the external storage would become the default location for all installations and will also allow gamers to transport their games for use on another console. So for example you’d be able to take a favourite game to a mate’s house and sign into Xbox Live to play straight away without having to install the whole thing again from disc, which is most handy.

Real Names Displayed:

Xbox One user’s real names can now be displayed alongside gamertags on their Xbox Live profiles. Privacy can be protected by allowing gamer’s to select whether all friends or a select group of added friends can view their real name and to the rest of the world only the gamertag and profile information will remain shown. So this means there’s no fear that someone you gunned down in a game of Call of Duty Ghosts will ever know who you are in real life.

Xbox Live ‘Games for Gold’:

Microsoft recently announced that any Xbox Live subscriber, regardless of Gold status, would be able to access additional subscription services such as Twitch and Netflix but promised that those forking out for Gold would be rewarded in time. The time is now, and Microsoft has announced ‘Games for Gold’ which allows any full-paying customer to grab two free Xbox One games a month, currently available are Halo: Spartan Assault and Max: Curse of the Brotherhood.

Upgrades to Xbox One SmartGlass App:

As well as updates to the Xbox One console itself, there are also some enhancements made to the SmartGlass companion application for phones and tablets which was one of the key points in Microsoft’s initial presentation of the Xbox One. Owners will now be able to use the companion app to view streaming gameplay videos through Twitch and make changes to the Xbox One Dashboard via actions on the connected device’s touchscreen. Kinect can also be synced up to control TV features such as channel changing and volume with voice command.

These updates and additions will become available starting today and Xbox One consoles should automatically update provided they are left in standby with an active internet connection.