Microsoft Testing FastStart with Xbox One Game Pass Titles

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You may soon be able to play new Xbox One Game Pass games without waiting for them to download. According to Engadget, Microsoft is testing its FastStart system with select users.

What is FastStart, and how does it work? Unveiled by Microsoft during this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), FastStart allows Xbox One users to play games while they are being downloaded. The system works by identifying and prioritizing data that’s essential to playing. Using FastStart, Xbox will automatically download this data first, allowing users to play the game as the remaining data is downloaded. On its website, Microsoft says FastStart gets users into games twice as fast.

Reports show that Xbox One Preview Beta users can now use FastStart on Game Pass titles. The feature is automatically enabled on select titles, including “The Flame in the Flood,” “Spelunky” and “Fuzion Frenzy.” After a Preview Beta user has downloaded the essential parts of the game, he or she can start playing it. Microsoft is planning to roll out FastStart to all Xbox One users later this month.

As most gamers know, waiting for a new video game to download can be frustrating. If you have a slow connection or the server has a slow connection, it may take several hours. FastStart is designed to eliminate this problem by allowing users to play partially downloaded games.

It’s important to note that FastStart isn’t the same as Microsoft’s “Ready to start feature.” Some Xbox users may have noticed a “Ready to start” option on games that are being downloaded. When launched, the partially downloaded game may take the user to the game’s title menu or even allow the user to play the first level. Because this feature requires input from the developer, though, it’s not as effective as FastStart.

Sony also offers a premium subscription-based gaming service. Known as PS Now, it costs either $19.99 or $9.99 month, depending on the plan, and includes unlimited access to hundreds of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games. However, one of the ways that Microsoft is differentiating Game Pass from PS Now is its use of FastStart. This machine learning tool allows users to play games without waiting for them to download.

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