When Microsoft originally announced the Xbox One, they had a hard focus on the media aspects of the system. It was supposed to be this all-in-one set-top box that handled all your streaming, movie-watching, television-viewing and game-playing needs. The Xbox One now is different from the one we saw back in 2013, and after the spring update it’ll be almost unrecognizable as one of the very last media-focused features goes away: Xbox One’s Snap mode.
The new features coming as part of the Creators Update were detailed in the video above, but Microsoft executive Mike Ybarra took to Twitter to detail one of the changes head on:
We replaced Snap to improve multitasking, reduce memory use, improve overall speed, and free up resources going forward for bigger things.
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) January 24, 2017
Snap mode was a feature included in the Xbox One from the beginning that was intended to allow players to not only play a game or watch a show, but to snap something to the side, such as streaming app, a statistics app, or a music player. The game you’re playing squishes down in size and the snapped application takes up about a fifth of the screen.
But, I liked Snap!
Ever since Phil Spencer took over as head of Xbox, the Xbox One features that promote anything other than gaming have been stripped away. Kinect is barely there. DVR has been canceled. The HDMI pass-through port is still there, but I have a strong suspicion it won’t be present on the Xbox One follow-up, Project Scorpio, unless it’s very cheap and doesn’t cost any system performance to add in.
Snap is a cool feature, for sure, but I can say anecdotally that of the few friends I have who used it, even they used it on only the rarest of occasions. Most Xbox gamers won’t miss this feature – if they even notice that it left. The system has to reserve some processing power and memory to be able to snap things and play games at the same time, holding back developers and games alike.
Whether Snap’s removal allows developers a little more juice to power games, simply brings some additional stability to the system, or is replaced with a more useful and desirable feature, this is another good move for Xbox that shows the team’s commitment to games.