Microsoft is rolling updates for most of its Windows 8 core apps this week. In addition to the previous communication apps refresh, the software giant is also updating its Xbox Windows 8 apps: Videos, Music, Games and SmartGlass. User won’t see many changes in the user interface side, but there are many changes that come under-the-hood.
The Games app for Windows 8 is being refreshed to include toast notifications support for Xbox Live messaging. Even though most of the improvements are internally, Microsoft has also made minors UI changes, by adding recently played games, user’s achievements, messages, and access to the Friends hub to the home screen. Additionally, game trailers, screenshots and downloadable content were also improved — Download available here.
Also SmartGlass received some improvements. Devices will continue to stay awake when SmartGlass is in use, and it also includes a few stability and connections fixes. An updated controller layout with an Xbox guide button to make navigation a bit smoother — Download available here.
A new version of Xbox Music Windows 8 app has been released. The new update includes better performance for Windows RT devices, e.g., Surface RT. As a new UI change, Microsoft has added a new dedicated volume control that works independently of the system volume.
The Xbox Music app for Windows 8/RT also allows to add tracks locally stored to the music collection and have them appear on other devices capable of Xbox Music. Plus a new option to automatically add matched songs to the cloud library from the PC. Finally, the now playing user interface lists all the songs from an album next to the track that is currently playing — Download available here.
The Windows 8 Xbox Video app seems to have an update as well. Perhaps one of the most significant changes to Video is the addition of closed caption support for TV shows and movies from downloaded content. Also there are some performance enhancements and a few feature updates such as: restore purchased videos that disappeared from the video library in Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Basically, users will now get a “Restore” button located in the preferences’ menu of the app, to recover those video files that just aren’t showing up in the library — Download available here.
Thus far we’ve seen updates for Mail, Calendar, People, and now also for Games, SmartGlass, Music, and Video, which are available immediately. So this means that we could also be expecting more updates from Microsoft for the rest of Windows 8 core apps including: Bing, Bing Maps, Travel, Weather, Finance, News, and the Sport apps any time soon.