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FastStart Feature Now Rolling Out To Xbox Users: Here’s How It Makes Downloads Faster

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Microsoft is now finally rolling out the July dashboard update to all Xbox One users, with the most notable new feature being FastStart, a way for players to load up a game even if it hasn't finished downloading.

Unveiled at its E3 presentation, FastStart works by downloading the most important files of a game so users can start playing them as the rest of the game finishes downloading in the background. The only downside is that it requires a download speed of about 20 Mbps, which is a luxury not all users around the world have easy access to. What's more, the feature is only compatible with a "select number" of popular games available on Xbox Game Pass.

In a FAQ, Microsoft explains that with FastStart, gamers can jump into a game twice as fast as they did previously.

"FastStart is a new innovation from our Xbox Platform team that allows you to jump into your games twice as fast and play after downloading just a fraction of it," Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

The company has yet to provide a full list of games that support the feature, but says it plans to make it available to more games going forward once titles are updated.

FastStart vs Ready To Start

Microsoft also makes clear that FastStart is a successor to, and replaces the current "ready to start" feature that allows some Xbox One users to start games before they're fully downloaded. Typically, it allows gamers to play an initial level before the full game is finished downloading. However, FastStart is different from Ready to start because the latter requires work from the publisher, whereas the former does not. Also, Ready to start varies from game to game — in some cases, players only see a menu or a loading screen while the rest of the game finishes downloading. Those, of course, barely count as being able to play a game.

What Games Are Compatible With FastStart?

Currently, FastStart is compatible with 23 games: 17 on the Xbox One, three on the Xbox 360, and three on the original Xbox. It also only works with English-language games for now, Microsoft notes. Polygon has published a list of all FastStart-compatible games, so make sure to check it out.

To try the feature out, simply find a FastStart-compatible game, hit "Download," and the console will do the rest of the work. A dialog box will prompt users if a game can be played as it finishes downloading. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to load it up.

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