The next major Xbox One software update will add external storage support, bailing out users who've already burned through the console's 500 GB hard drive.
Microsoft has always said that the Xbox One would support external drives, but not in time for the launch last fall. The June update will let users move their games, apps, and downloadable content back and forth between the built-in hard drive and an external drive. That's a hugely important feature given how massive console games have become.
There are, however a couple of caveats: Microsoft is requiring USB 3.0 with at least 256 GB of storage, so you might not be able to re-purpose a really old hard drive. You'll also have to format the drive first, wiping out anything that's already stored on it.
Interestingly enough, Microsoft says hard drive support will allow players to bring digitally-purchased games to a friend's house. The owner of the game will simply have to sign in on the friend's Xbox to begin playing those games. (For games purchased on disc and installed to the hard drive, the owner will still have to bring the actual disc along.)
Sony's Playstation 4 does not support external hard drives, but users can get swap in any 2.5-inch SATA internal drive.
The June update will also include some big improvements for users who've hooked up their cable boxes to the console. The Xbox One SmartGlass app is getting full OneGuide and Universal Remote Control support, allowing users to select channels and set up DVR recordings from a smartphone or tablet. The app will let users reorganize their pinned apps on the Xbox One's home screen as well.
The other big change lined up for June is real name support. Microsoft says it will provide granular controls over who can see your real name, letting you share with just a subset of friends, all friends, friends of friends, or everyone.
As Microsoft announced earlier this month, Xbox Live will no longer be required to use apps like Netflix and HBO Go starting in June. Those changes will kick in when the update arrives, though Microsoft hasn't announced an exact date.
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