Microsoft has revealed that it is introducing a new firmware update for Xbox controllers, as well as other updates exclusively for Alpha members of Xbox Insiders. This firmware update will add several new features to older Xbox consoles, including the ability to quickly switch between two supported devices and reduce latency. Alpha members can also look forward to updating the HDMI-CEC which allows them to control their dashboards using the remote control.
The most important update announced today, at least for those using their Xbox controllers with multiple devices, is that Microsoft makes it easier to switch between devices. Most Xbox controllers have Bluetooth support that they use to connect to non-Xbox devices — they pair with Xboxes via the Xbox Wireless protocol. Newer Xbox controllers have the ability to “remember” one Bluetooth connection and one Xbox wireless connection, and users can switch between connections by double-tapping the pairing button.
This will mean that if you play Xbox Game Pass on your Xbox and want to continue on your Android phone (assuming, of course, the game is available for play via Cloud Streaming), you can now do so with Xbox One or Xbox Adaptive controller, provided you are a member of Xbox Insiders.
In addition to making it easier to change connections, the Xbox also provides older controllers with dynamic latency input, which “more efficiently delivers controller inputs to your Xbox Series X console | S for faster reaction in the game and seemingly immediate action “. This means that the Xbox One controller should be able to work with the Xbox Series X / S almost as well as the original console controller.
The new firmware update is currently only available with Alpha Skip-Ahead and Alpha Insider rings via version 2110.210906-2200.
Another update that might be of interest to users is the ability to use TV remote controls to control the Xbox dashboard, which is also being introduced to those users. With this update, users will be able to control apps like Netflix with a remote control instead of their controllers, enhancing the Xbox utility as a media hub. Users can also switch the input of their TV using the controller – by touching the Xbox button they can quickly switch back to their console.