The official YouTube app is now live in the Xbox One store, the streaming video site’s blog revealed (and we can independently confirm). Microsoft’s new console launches on November 22, 2013, at midnight – also known as this very evening – and YouTube will be ready and waiting for those who wish to stream adorable puppy feeds and stupid human tricks through their video game machine.
The free-to-download app supports voice commands that start with the prompt “YouTube,” and end with whichever onscreen command you want to select. It’s a lot like the Kinect-powered Xbox One voice commands, which amount to “Xbox, [perform function].” The YouTube app is a bit more limited in its launch form, however; for example, you can say “YouTube, search” to call up the search option, but you’ll have to manually type in whatever you’re looking for using a controller or paired device. This is separate from SmartGlass; the Xbox One SmartGlass keyboard doesn’t appear to work in the YouTube app, so you’ll need to pair a device specifically for that using the (admittedly easy) in-app instructions.
The app also supports gesture controls, though you’ll need enough space between yourself and Kinect to actually take advantage of that feature. New York City apartments do not afford us that luxury.
The app is a solid start, with a simple, easy to process layout built around a vertically oriented menu that lists the various categories. Choose one and you get a horizontally oriented listing of recommended videos right next to the category list. Imagine the PlayStation 3’s XMB dashboard, then flip it 90 degrees. That’s how the YouTube app looks. You can also sign into your personal account to access subscriptions and the like. The streams look great and automatically notch up to HD in our own testing environment, though your own Internet bandwidth mileage may vary.