The first universal Windows app hits Microsoft's Xbox One

Twenty-thousand lucky Xbox One Preview Program participants are getting their first look at the console's first universal Windows app.

Microsoft just reached a major milestone for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) on the Xbox One, releasing the first-ever UWP app for the console.

But shifting Windows apps onto Microsoft's console takes baby steps; this debut app isn't very exciting, nor is it available to everyone just yet. The new UWP app is a version of the Xbox One’s Blu-ray player, and it's currently available to 20,000 users in the Xbox One Preview Program, as first reported by WinBeta.

The impact on you at home: The new app isn’t fundamentally different than what Xbox One users already have. In fact, Microsoft said there are “few if any noticeable differences” between the two. However, since it’s a UWP app the Blu-ray player could theoretically be ported to other Windows 10 devices such as PCs.

It’s not clear when the new Blu-ray app will be released to all users. Microsoft first wants the app to go through small scale testing with preview users in order to catch bugs and other problems before it goes mainstream. Once it does land on Xbox One consoles it will automatically delete the current Blu-ray Player—presumably to avoid confusion over which app to use.

A long road towards unification

Windows 10 began rolling out to Xbox One consoles in late 2015. At the time, the Windows 10 rollout’s biggest attraction was a new look for the Xbox one dashboard. But bringing Windows 10 to the Xbox also introduced some significant under-the-hood changes that are only now coming to fruition.

First is the ability for developers to create UWP apps that run on the Xbox One, such as the new Blu-ray Player. More UWP apps are expected to hit Microsoft’s newest console once the company opens the Xbox’s Windows Store to to third-party UWP apps later this summer.

Windows 10 on the Xbox has also allowed for Microsoft’s new Play Anywhere strategy that launches September 13. Play Anywhere is a multi-device gaming platform that allows users to play select games on both the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Games saves will transfer between PCs and consoles via the cloud, and PC and console types will even be able to play together under the new system.

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Ian Paul

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