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Xbox February Update adds touch controls for Remote Play and more

Published Feb 14th, 2024 1:55PM EST
Xbox touch controls for remote play
Image: Xbox

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We’re one day away from Xbox’s Phil Spencer unveiling the future of the platform, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get anything today. As if to grab one more news cycle and ensure these things don’t fall into the backburner when tomorrow’s news hits, Xbox revealed its February Update today.

In a blog post, the company announced a number of new features coming with the update, including the ability to use touch controls when using Remote Play, a thumbstick recalibration tool, new filtering and sorting options, and more.

Touch controls for Remote Play

Remote Play is the feature that lets you play games when you’re away from your console. Unlike Xbox Cloud Gaming, Remote Play access games are installed on your console, with the console acting as your gaming server. The company says that while there will be a basic layout available for most games, select games will get custom layouts for an even better experience:

Want to play games when away from your console, but don’t have your Xbox Wireless Controller handy? No problem! Xbox remote play now supports custom touch control layouts on more than a hundred games when using the Xbox app on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. The same custom touch layouts available through Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) will now be available when remotely playing games from your personal console. This includes games like Minecraft DungeonsPsychonauts 2Sea of Thieves, and many more. Additionally, a basic touch control layout can now be used for most other games.

Xbox touch controls for remote play
Touch controls for Remote Play were added in the Xbox February Update. Image source: Xbox

A new thumbstick recalibration tool

While you might use touch controls sometimes, most people still love their Xbox Wireless Controller. To help people out, Xbox is launching a new thumbstick recalibration tool for people who are able to self-repair their controllers. The company does note that “not all thumbstick issues can be resolved with this recalibration tool, including drift due to normal wear and tear.”

Xbox enables owners of Xbox Wireless Controllers to self-repair their devices by selling official replacement parts in the Microsoft Store. If you’re self-repairing your controller, the thumbstick recalibration tool should be used after you have replaced the controller’s base and circuit board, as that will likely disrupt thumbstick calibration values.

The Xbox February Update includes a new thumbstick recalibration tool.

New filters and sorts in My Games & Apps

The update also adds new filters and sorts to the My Games & Apps section. Users will now be able to filter by accessibility, supported languages, and technical features, such as being Touch Enabled for Remote Play.

Additionally, subscription tabs in your full library have been updated to sort by Recently added, making it easier to see what’s new in subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass and EA Play. You can always adjust the sorting to find games to play in your library. Just head to My games & apps > Full library, and you’ll find all the new filtering and sorting options.

New filters and sorts are part of the Xbox February Update.

Automatic profile sign-out

This one is really cool. Sometimes, consoles are used in shared places like schools, libraries, and hospitals. Right now, a lot of those places create placeholder profiles for kids to use, but wouldn’t it be nice to let them use their own profiles?

The new update includes a new feature that, if enabled on the console, will allow for players’ profiles to be deleted from the console when the player signs out. As the company explains, in a hospital environment, for example, the feature “makes it easier for player’s profiles to be deleted when they sign out, and it removes the need to check if patients have signed out of the consoles when the gaming cart gets moved between patients.”

New access restriction options in the Xbox February Update.

The future of Xbox starts tomorrow

All of these new features are starting to roll out today, but today seems quite small compared to what happens tomorrow. On Thursday, the future of the Xbox platform itself will be revealed on the company’s official podcast.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Sarah Bond, President of Xbox, and Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios, will all be on the Xbox Official Podcast to talk about what is happening with the platform with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard now being finalized.

There are a lot of rumors about what the company will announce, including bringing some previously exclusive games to PlayStation and Nintendo. We may also learn about what the future of Xbox consoles will look like. It all kicks off tomorrow at 12:00 PM Pacific Time.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.