Microsoft Xbox One Update Lets Users Better Manage Storage

A black box no more. A new update for the Xbox One will give users visibility into their on-board storage along with tools to manage downloads.

The Xbox One ships with an internal 500GB hard drive. Unfortunately, the console's UI makes it practically impossible to determine how much of that space is left after downloading some games and content.

Instead, it displays an alert when the system determines that users are getting low on GBs. It's a step back in functionality compared with its predecessor, the Xbox 360.

Microsoft is finally addressing the Xbox One's storage blindness with a new update scheduled for a Feb. 11 release, announced Marc Whitten, Xbox chief product officer. The update will finally offer the "ability to see and manage your storage space," he said in a statement.

"With this update, you will find it easy to find how much space your content takes up and better manage your content," added Whitten. This includes tools to manage download queues and install lineups. Users will also be able to organize their games and apps into separate lists, allowing them to "easily create separate queues for both," along with boot indicators to monitor the progress of downloads and updates.

The battery power indicator, an Xbox 360 staple, will make a return as well. "You can see it right on the home screen, so you can easily track how much battery life is left on your controller," stated Whitten. The update will also enable the use of USB keyboards with the system.

Whitten hinted that those are just a few of the enhancements that will be included in the Feb. 11 update. He promised "lots of behind-the-scenes updates for developers building apps and games for Xbox One, several new features we believe Xbox fans will love, stability and product updates to improve the customer experience, and continuous improvements to the quality of Kinect voice so commands become more fluid and responsive over time."

Microsoft plans to follow up with another update scheduled for March 4, a week ahead of the release of "Titanfall," one of the most buzzed-about games for the platform.

Although lacking in specifics, Whitten admitted that update will beef up the Xbox One's multiplayer capabilities. "This update will contain many new features and improvements, most significantly to our party and multiplayer systems," he stated.

Microsoft announced on Jan. 23 that it had sold a healthy number of Xbox Ones in the weeks following the device's Nov. 22 launch, helping the IT giant achieve record-breaking revenue during the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 (ending Dec. 31). "This holiday, we continued to make significant progress in the consumer space, headlined by Xbox One, which launched in 13 markets and sold in 3.9 million units in just over 5 weeks," said Microsoft CFO Amy Hood during an investor's conference call.

Rival Sony reported sales of 4.2 million PlayStation 4 units as of Dec. 28, helping the electronics maker's game division boost sales by 64.6 percent. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both share similar hardware architectures based on Advanced Micro Devices' Jaguar CPU/GPU tech.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...