Windows 8 hit MSDN and TechNet just over a week ago, which means that we’re one tenth of the way toward general availability. I’ve spent a significant amount of time in the Xbox Music and Video apps over the last week, managing my collection, streaming music with my Xbox Music Pass subscription, and playing TV shows and movie rentals. Of course, when I say “managing my collection,” I actually mean attempting to get to the bottom of why some of my music wouldn’t appear in the Xbox Music app (as I mentioned in my initial impressions last week), since you can’t actually edit any of the metadata directly from the app. As it turns out, subscription content downloaded through the Zune software client isn’t compatible with the Xbox Music app and vice versa.
I’ve also noticed a few bugs with Xbox Music, such as the frequent disappearance of the playlist and more info buttons which switching between apps. Thankfully, it’s possible to get them back by backing out to the main menu and re-entering now playing. Strangely, the buttons will also appear if you hover over the spot where they are normally located.
Xbox Video works fairly well for streaming movie rentals and TV shows, but I did encounter a playback error once or twice which forced me to back out to the main menu and restart the video. Other than those few minor speed bumps, the playback experience was great. Interestingly, movie rentals are not automatically removed from your collection once the playback rights expire. You can, however, delete them via the app bar.
Keeping with the app bugs theme, I find it strange that the Messaging app doesn’t automatically respond via the same service as the incoming messages. I’ve had multiple instances where my responses were sent via Messenger, rather than Facebook, and I had to switch the service and re-send the IM. I’ve also had a strange issue where Tweetro crashes whenever I attempt to view my DMs. Of course, it’s very important to keep in mind that these apps are not yet final. Microsoft and its third-party developers have just over two months to stamp out the bugs in their Windows 8 apps, so I’m sure everything will be working great by launch.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the achievements in Microsoft Minesweeper, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, and Microsoft Mahjong are just as easy as I’d thought. They may not offer much Gamerscore (115G, between the three), but you 100% them with little effort. Plus, they’re probably the best versions of these games to ever come with Windows. If you want a more challenging achievement unlocking experience, check out Pinball FX 2. Although it’s important to note that only two of the achievements can be unlocked off the bat. The rest require that you purchase DLC tables.