Microsoft’s recent summer update for the Xbox One added features such as background music, giving people the ability to stream tunes from officially supported services like Pandora. But it’s also possible to use the feature with music of your own that you may have on a USB drive, thanks to third-party Xbox One apps.
Mike Ybarra, director of program management for the Xbox and Windows platform at Microsoft, highlighted one such app in a tweet yesterday:
USB background music player is available from one of our devs. Go to Store, Apps, search for background to find. pic.twitter.com/Atlu8O6qp5— ♏️ike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) August 4, 2016
The app Simple Background Music Player appears to function similarly to the PlayStation 4’s built-in USB Music Player app, which launched in October 2014. Users must create a specifically named folder on their USB drive and put music files in that folder in order for the app to recognize and play them. (The Xbox One’s built-in Media Player app does not appear to support background music at this time.)
Simple Background Music Player is developed by TroubleAcres Apps. It appears to be one of the first examples of a third-party Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app to be released on Xbox One. Microsoft brought Windows 10 and UWP to the console with a major system update in November, and this past March, the company launched a beta of Xbox One Dev Mode, which allows developers to use the console to test UWP games and apps.
Microsoft isn’t yet allowing any developer to publish a UWP app on Xbox One; that’s coming later this year, according to an FAQ on the Windows Dev Center. But clearly, the company is starting to make that possible. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, replied to Ybarra yesterday to say that it’s "nice to see opening up UWP giving people the ability build apps they find useful and sharing with the community."