The start of a new NFL season is just around the corner, and Microsoft's been working hard to improve the experience for football fans on the Xbox One. What's different now, among other things, is that the company's NFL application is expected to be ready by Week 1; as opposed to last year, when it showed up in Week 12 because of the timing of the Xbox One's launch. This time out, there are a lot more features too, with Fantasy Football and NFL Now, the league's upcoming online video service, playing a huge role in the refreshed version. First and foremost, Microsoft wants its NFL app to feel like your own, which is why it lets you personalize it with content from team and players you're interested in, as well as different media provided by NFL Network, NFL RedZone, NFL Sunday Ticket and, of course, NFL Now.
As far as Fantasy Football goes, the Xbox One now gives you quick access to a ton of stuff, including a feed of recent events (such as a touchdown catch by one of your receivers), exclusive in-game highlights and the ability to manage teams, all right from inside the app. At the moment, fantasy data is still only integrating with NFL.com leagues, but Microsoft did tell Engadget it's constantly working to bring more services into the fold -- think Yahoo Sports or ESPN's fantasy offerings. Not surprisingly, the NFL League Feed (pictured above) takes advantage of core Xbox One features like Snap, allowing you to easily keep track of your Fantasy Football stats, even while you're playing a game or, you know, watching an actual NFL matchup.
Furthermore, the very same application is also coming to Windows 8 devices for the first time. And although differences between platforms do exist, like no HDMI-in TV signal on tablets or PCs, a Microsoft representative told us that the NFL for Windows 8 and Xbox One apps are indeed the same, a universal one, if you will. Conversely, Xbox 360 owners can expect similar functionality to what's available already -- though there is going to be the addition of NFL Now, which brings more on-demand content from the National Football League to the aging console.
Microsoft has promised that its NFL-rich app will arrive in time for the regular season, both on Xbox One and Windows 8, but a "late August" delivery is what it is willing to commit to for now. Don't you worry, it'll be here soon enough.
Microsoft Xbox One