"Xbox, snap that" - the best Xbox One apps for gamers

It's not just about Skype calls and Netflix, you know

You probably won't buy an Xbox One for the apps, however urgently Microsoft trumpets the convergence of gaming and "broad entertainment" pursuits, but you may be pleasantly surprised by what they can do. The console's partitioned OS is designed to make life easier for developers of both games and apps - each party gets a dedicated (albeit scalable) slice of RAM and processing power, with no fear of performance-killing overlap.

Here's a round-up of the Xbox One apps I'm most eager to manhandle - exclusive, non-exclusive and tablet-based. Bear in mind that some of them require an Xbox Gold account.

Battlefield 4's Battlescreen
I'm not entirely convinced that Battlefield's reborn Commander Mode will hold up when you play using a controller - pending proper hands-on time, it still seems very much built for mouse and keyboard - but as a touchscreen app, it makes perfect sense.

Commanders don't actually get to command in practice, as ground-level squaddies are at liberty to ignore their instructions or vote them out of office, but they can prove decisive nonetheless, dropping vehicles and ammo refills, turning a spotlight on particularly deadly foes (aka High Value Targets) so that allies can take them down for bonus XP, issuing Cruise Missile warnings and firing off Cruise Missiles in return. The top-down 2D interface seems dull, but you can keep tabs on the action via a picture-in-picture view down bottom left.

Dead Rising 3's Zombie Defence & Control PDA
Powered by SmartGlass, Dead Rising 3's second-screen mode ties into the fiction - early on in his tour of zombie-ridden Los Perdidos, protagonist Nick Ramos discovers a PDA in the hands of a dead government operative, which then maps to your smartphone or tablet. In a neat touch, you'll then receive phone calls and text messages from characters within the game, which allow you to pursue an exclusive side story, upgrade the PDA's capabilities and uncover bonus weapons.


The app also comes in handy as a progress tracker, with all active missions available at a glance, and a mini-map that shows both your position and that of your co-op partner. There's a news ticker with updates about events elsewhere in the city, an Item Finder to help you locate particular weapons, vehicles, stores and the like, a rotating roster of boss hints and a Backup app that can be used to summon fellow survivors. Best of all, the app is a hotline to Call of Duty-style carnage - drones, air strikes and flares to lure away the undead in the event that you're trapped.

Upload Studio
Microsoft's got quite a lot riding on Xbox One's Game DVR feature, which will apparently help great under-sung titles circulate without being promoted to the frontpage. Video Upload is the console's native video editing app: you'll be able to take any clip you've recorded (hint: say "Xbox, record that"), pick a segment, record a voice-over or a video of yourself pulling faces to sit alongside it, apply a skin and share the results on your own, personal channel. The ease with which all this is performed is rather impressive, ensuring that of all Xbox One's apps, this is probably the one you'll use the most.

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