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Clever “copilot” controller mode launches in latest Xbox guide update

Sam Machkovech

Want to use more than one controller on the same profile? The new "copilot" mode on Xbox One will let you do just that.
Sam Machkovech
Microsoft pushed a new testing version of its Xbox One guide interface to "Insider" members on Monday, and it brings two intriguing changes: an overhaul to what happens when you tap the "Xbox button" and a very unique "copilot" option for controller use.
The former, previewed by Xbox Program Manager Scott Henson, shows off a slightly faster jump between tapping the button and having a floating menu appear. The new default floating menu makes it easier for players to jump back to the home screen, and it additionally offers a shorter path to the home screen's primary options: opening the "games and apps" collection; picking recently played games; and picking from "pinned" games and apps. (Next to all of those is a super-quick path to playing, pausing, and seeking through your personal music collection, should you enjoy Xbox One's custom-soundtrack functionality.)
A welcome update to Xbox One's "achievement tracker" will allow players to slap a transparent text box on top of their favorite games. This specifies the names and percentage completion of any achievement that a player wants to keep tabs on. Let's say you're tracking a "kill 500 'blue' zombies" achievement, and you're wondering if the last bomb you detonated caught any blue ones. Now, you won't have to tab into the achievement menus to figure that out.
Not much to this menu screen; the real juice is in how copilot mode can be used both for accessibility and for sharing games with, say, younger players.
Not much to this menu screen; the real juice is in how copilot mode can be used both for accessibility and for sharing games with, say, younger players.
Along with other interface tweaks, like a more granular progress bar for system update status, the latest Insider build includes the new "copilot" option in the system's accessibility menus. When enabled, users can assign two gamepads to the same player. As an accessibility option, this will enable players with disabilities or other issues to place controllers next to distant hands or close to their chin or feet and have them all work in conjunction for the same game. (This will pair pretty well with the console's "controller remapping" options, which already exist. Copilot mode's separate pads can be individually remapped, as well.) The new offering will allow parents and kids to share the same single-player game or to help each other out in a pinch without having to hand a controller off mid-battle.
Home theater buffs will appreciate the Insider build's new bitstream passthrough functionality, currently labeled as "in beta." This will enable support for bitstream audio formats like Dolby Atmos. Xbox One dev kit users will also get access to a "spatial audio" toggle, which will let developers begin coding positional audio cues (meaning, sounds placed based on where speakers are, even accounting for height) for both speaker and headphone systems. Though game players will not yet get to test the devs' tests, today's update could usher in a native 360-degree audio headphone opportunity for Xbox One systems, as opposed to PlayStation 4, which currently only has one 360-degree audio game (Uncharted 4) and only one compatible headset (the official PlayStation Platinum Wireless Headset).
Henson briefly mentioned more changes that will eventually come to the streaming and broadcasting elements of the Xbox Creators Update. However, he didn't mention Beam, the streaming company that Microsoft recently acquired (and is embedding into Xbox systems). Instead, Henson simply reassured gamers that Twitch support will continue to receive native support.

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