Microsoft has released a public beta version of the promised Xbox One SmartGlass release that adds a ton of new features for Xbox One users, including the ability to buy Xbox One games on your handset, "like" items, and more.
You may recall from Coming Soon: August 2014 System Update for Xbox One that Microsoft planned to deliver this functionality—mobile purchases and a ton of activity feed updates—to SmartGlass in time for the next Xbox One system update. But if you're not familiar, Xbox One SmartGlass is the "second screen" experience for Microsoft's new video game console. To date, it hasn't been particularly interesting. But this update may put it over the top.
According to Microsoft, this version of the app includes the following new features:
- Like a Game Clip
- Like an item in the activity feed
- View items that have been bundled together
- View items that have been shared to you from a message
- Purchase Xbox One games & add-ons
- Browse for recent and popular games & add-ons
- General stability and polish improvements
- Bug fixes
It also notes that "some features may require a console update to take full advantage of them." I'm particularly interested in the ability to buy games from your phone. With this feature, you can be out in the world, find out about a new game and buy it, and be sure it will be downloaded and installed to the console automatically. So when you get home, it's good to go. (In the future, this will be augmented with game pre-orders too, so you can be ready on Day One for the next Halo, Call of Duty or whatever.)
So I just bought a game to check out this feature—the 2014 anniversary edition of a favorite Amiga game called Another World (well, it was called "Out of This World" back then)—and the purchase did go through, but I had to manually install it on the console. This may be because of the pending console update.