Oh Snap! Xbox One's latest update ditches a key feature for more speed

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson responded to our request for more information on the removal of Snap functionality. 

"We’re evolving the Xbox experience based on how gamers are multi-tasking on Xbox One, and thus, we’re removing the Snap feature to improve system performance, game performance, and overall reliability. 

While most Snap experiences will now launch to full-screen experiences, we’re taking the more popular Snap experiences gamers are using and building them directly into the Guide, which includes starting Beam broadcasts, a new Achievement tracker, and Game DVR."

Original story below:

If you haven’t snapped an app on Xbox One in awhile, you might want to spend some time with it this week: Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management, Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft, announced via Twitter that Snap won’t exist much longer.

“We replaced Snap to improve multitasking, reduce memory use, improve overall speed, and free up resources going forward for bigger things,” Ybarra tweeted on January 24. 

The replacement Ybarra is referring to is the updated Guide and Home features that were included in the latest Creators Update that came to members of Microsoft’s Insiders program earlier this week. 

See more

In effect, however, it’s not a one-to-one replacement – it doesn’t appear as though you’re able to split the screen with any app, only certain apps are able to take over part of the screen. And, so far, that list only appears to include the achievements and party apps. 

So does that mean you won’t be able to watch TV and playing games at the same time? So far, it looks like that’s the case. That said, we’ve reached out to Microsoft for additional details and will update this story when we hear back.

Snap back

The decision to dismiss Snap is interesting. At one time, Microsoft used the system’s ability to multi-task to differentiate itself from its competitor, the PlayStation 4. Now, without Snap and the continued push to decommission Kinect, those differences are starting to disappear.

For the time being Microsoft hasn’t said what it’s going to do to replace some of those key Snap functions, if they decide to replace them at all, causing some Xbox gamers to express their anger via Twitter. 

See more

But hey, at least Xbox One owners still have HDMI passthrough to tout over PlayStation Nation, right?

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.