Five ways Microsoft just made the Xbox One a lot more attractive

Microsoft confirms its console will play older Xbox 360 games and get a fresher user interface in November. Next up: TV recording capabilities in 2016.

Nigel Manuel
Nigel Manuel
Nigel Manuel is an editorial intern for CNET News. He has worked for multiple local-news outlets and got his start at a radio station in his home state of Tennessee. He attends the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He's an avid gamer who watches TV and reads on the side.
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Microsoft says DVR functionality is coming to the Xbox One. Screenshot

Microsoft piled on the reasons Tuesday for gamers sitting on the fence to finally pick up an Xbox One gaming console.

The company is in a dogfight with Sony and its PlayStation 4 console for dominance in the video game world. With the PlayStation 4 taking an early lead in console sales, Microsoft has had to go the extra mile to win over fans -- many of whom have clung to their older Xbox 360 systems. Its push comes as the video game industry grapples with a shift in how people play games -- with many of them opting to forgo consoles altogether in favor of more casual smartphone games.

So Microsoft had to state its case during its presentation Tuesday at the Gamescom video game conference in Germany, which was made available via webcast.

Here's everything Microsoft announced at Gamescom 2015

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Xbox One gets DVR. The world's largest software maker said digital video-recording capabilities will come to the Xbox One next year, allowing gamers to record television that feeds through the console with the use of their over-the-air digital tuners and an external hard drive.

Straight from the OneGuide, the services' digital television guide, viewers can record a show in the background and access their recordings from their Xbox. Recordings will also start automatically if their console is set to the instant-on mode.

The Xbox App on Windows 10 will allow viewers to schedule recordings on the go, stream their recordings to their device and download their shows for offline viewing.

Backward compatibility. At the E3 video game conference earlier this year, Microsoft announced that Xbox 360 games would run on Xbox One. Today, it confirmed the feature will appear in November.

All future Xbox 360 games in the "Games with Gold" campaign, which gives Xbox Gold subscribers free games, will be backward-compatible.

The company reiterated that it would launch with 100 titles in the program, with more to come down the line.

A fresh coat of paint. The Xbox One will see a user interface upgrade that's powered by Windows 10. The interface isn't new, but the company confirmed the upgrade will take place in November.

The addition of Windows 10 means Cortana, Microsoft's voice-activated virtual assistant, will also work with the Xbox One, but you need Kinect to be able to ask questions.

A new way to chat. Microsoft also announced a Chatpad for the Xbox One. Similar to the Xbox 360 version, it includes a full keyboard and a connection for your headset. It plugs into the bottom of the Xbox One controller.

Unlike its predecessor, it has two programmable buttons at the bottom. They can be used for quick access to screenshots, gameplay recording and other features.

Software galore. Microsoft discussed three exclusives coming in 2016, including Quantum Break, a game with an in-game TV show, set to launch on April 5, and Crackdown 3.

Halo 5: Guardians showed off some multiplayer footage from prereleased software. Putting the game through its paces were two e-sports teams, Epsilon Esports and Optic Gaming, playing on the newly announced Coliseum map.

This comes after the news that split-screen multiplayer, a staple of the Halo games series, won't be back in Halo 5. Also in the Halo universe, Halo Wars 2, a follow-up to the 2009 real-time strategy game, is coming next year.

Update, noon PT: Added additional details about the DVR functionality.