Microsoft has revealed that it is releasing a new firmware update for Xbox controllers, as well as other updates exclusively for Alpha members of the Xbox Insiders program. This firmware update will add many new features to older Xbox consoles, including the ability to quickly switch between two supported devices and reduce latency. Alpha members can also expect an HDMI-CEC update that allows them to control their control panels with a remote control.
The most important update announced today, at least for those who use Xbox controls with more than one device, is that Microsoft makes it easy to switch between devices. Most Xbox controllers have Bluetooth support, which they use to connect to non-Xbox devices – combined with Xboxes via the Xbox Wireless protocol. Newer Xbox controllers have the ability to “remember” a Bluetooth connection and an Xbox Wireless connection, and users can switch between connections with a double-tap of the pair button.
This means that if you play an Xbox Game Pass game on your Xbox and want to continue on your Android phone (assuming, of course, that the game is available for play via Cloud Streaming), then you can now do so with an Xbox One controller or Xbox Adaptive, provided you are a member of Xbox Insiders.
In addition to easier connection switching, Xbox also provides older Dynamic Latency Input controllers, which “provides more efficient controller inputs to the Xbox Series X | S for a more responsive gaming experience and seemingly immediate action.” This means that an Xbox One controller should be able to work with an Xbox Series X / S almost like the console’s native controller.
The new firmware update is currently only available on the Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Insider rings via build 2110.210906-2200.
Another update that users may find interesting is the ability to use their remote controls to control the Xbox Control Panel, which is also available to these users. With this update, users will be able to control applications such as Netflix with a remote control instead of their controllers, improving the Xbox Utility as a multimedia center. Users can also change the input of their TV using the controller – by pressing the Xbox button, they can quickly return to their console.