Xbox is getting an update update to help improve updates, here's how it works

 Xbox Series X Storage Expansion.
Xbox Series X Storage Expansion.

What you need to know

  • Do you like updates to your Xbox updates? Well, this update is for you.

  • Microsoft is enabling a new update pre-download feature soon, first with Sea of Thieves.

  • You will be able to pre-download assets and major parts of big updates to existing games ahead of their general availability once this rolls out publicly in the coming weeks.

  • Initially, it's available in the Xbox Alpha Ring for Xbox Series X|S.

Do you like Xbox updates? What about Xbox update updates for your updates? Well, Microsoft has a little gift for you.

Spotted by Xbox watcher Klobrille on Twitter (X), the latest Xbox Insider Program update has a nifty new feature that will save everybody a lot of time and headaches as updates to service games grow ever larger.

As explained on the Xbox support website, the update is hitting the Xbox Alpha Ring shortly for testing, for those included in the Xbox Insider Program.

"We have exciting news! Xbox Insiders can expect something new coming to their Xbox Update Preview.

Update Pre-Download

Games that enable support for update pre-download will allow updates to be downloaded days before they are scheduled to release, so you can jump in and start playing right when the update goes live!

Be on the lookout for the for first updates to start taking advantage of this new option by checking My games & apps > Manage > Updates."

There was some confusion about how this system would work among users on Twitter. Xbox engineering lead Eden Marie jumped in to explain exactly what users can expect as this update rolls out. "If it’s available for download early it will download but not apply it until it’s mandatory," Marie explained. "That way when it’s update time you can do it quickly and get to playing right away without waiting for a download."

The first game that will utilize this feature is Sea of Thieves' own Insider program, although it stands to reason that many more Xbox internal studios and games will utilize it in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Xbox is still getting nifty features and refinements

Xbox Series X|S
Xbox Series X|S

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Recently, Microsoft also included the ability for Xbox consoles to remember previous Wi-Fi settings. A feature you'd probably need if you were developing an Xbox handheld, right? This feature too could be useful for people who are travelling frequently, allowing large updates for games like Call of Duty or Diablo 4 to be pre-downloaded at home, before patched and activated with slower hotel Wi-Fi or even a hotspot.

Microsoft has done a good job of supporting Xbox Series X|S consoles with post-launch quality of life updates, but I wouldn't mind seeing some more grand projects as well on the side. Xbox fans have been asking for improvements to the Xbox Game DVR and Xbox achievements systems for years, only for them to be largely left untouched. However, I suspect a lot of Microsoft's development bandwidth is being spent on the next-gen Xbox at this point, which could be a major paradigm shift. Phil Spencer previously hinted that the next Xbox will be more Windows-like, including the ability to install Steam and the Epic Game Store.