Big changes are coming to the Xbox One in the form of a massive update that promises to profoundly change the Xbox One experience. Aptly named “the New Xbox One Experience”, this update re-imagines the gaming console with new features and changes derived from all the user feedback collected since inception.
To summarize the major changes:
- Backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games, a hotly demanded feature. Over 100 games will be initially supported, with others rolling out over several months.
- Windows 10 style UI changes.
- A new, easily accessible Guide layout that allows easy access to notifications, party and friend management, messages, and settings.
- A revamped, more intuitive Home page
- A new Community section to help keep track of the latest trends and developments in the Xbox Live community. This includes a redesigned Activity Feed to better help keep track of your friends, and a Trending section to see the latest of what’s happening.
- A revamped OneGuide to better manage all your movies and TV shows. This includes an added picture-in-picture mode to allow simultaneous browsing and watching. It also includes tools to keep track of popular, live shows and up-to-date information on their viewership and community activity. A new App Channel shows the latest TV shows, movies, and videos highlighted by your apps.
- Store optimizations to help you better locate the content you want.
Of particular note is that the New Xbox One Experience will be powered by Windows 10. This is to be expected; a natural progression of Microsoft’s overarching strategy to unify and universalize all its OS offerings. The Xbox One team claims that the shift to the underlying Windows 10 architecture will net a 50% percent improvement in feature performance. Wait times for updates to your recent games in Home, party formation, and updates to friend activity will be near instantaneous. And considering the speed and efficiency of Windows 10’s universal apps, there’s no reason to doubt them.
In an effort to thoroughly emphasize their focus on user feedback, the Xbox One team is rolling out a preview for this update exclusive to Xbox One Preview Program members. This program is entirely optional, and will roll out in stages, starting with members who have a history of contributing the most feedback, and gradually expanding to all members of the preview program.
How do you get the update?
If you’re a Xbox One Preview Program member, you will receive an invitation through an Xbox Live message. Choosing not to test the update will not remove you from the Preview Program, and you will continue to receive regular Preview Program updates as normal. Should you opt-in, new builds will release over the course of the several weeks, during which Xbox One engineers will work to fix bugs, improve features, and incorporate feedback until the public November release.