As you all are certainly aware by now, the Xbox One’s user interface and functionality has been steadily evolving since launch. To continue that trend, perhaps the biggest overhaul yet is set to launch this November, and we have the details for you. Here’s a list of the biggest changes coming to the system when November’s big update rolls out. Many of the changes will make Kinect-less navigating much easier. Cue sigh of relief applause.
Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is here! Preview members have been testing the waters here with a handful of titles, but when the update hits that number will be expanded to over 100 titles, with “hundreds more” coming in subsequent months. This also allows you to use Xbox One’s operating system functions like screenshots, streaming, and DVR functionality with the backwards compatible titles. Also, much like the cross-gen messages they worked diligently to get functioning, you’ll be able to play multiplayer games with people playing the titles on their 360.
The guide/home button is being revamped. Double tapping on the home button will now bring up the guide, giving you quicker access to some of the most-used functions like messaging, party chat, settings, friends lists, and more.
Home screen is changing. The details aren’t specific here, but the home screen is being redesigned to make it “faster and easier to provide access to games and apps you’ve recently used”, as well as quicker social sharing, one-click access to game hubs, and more visibility as to what friends are playing the same game as you.
A completely new community section is being added. Details aren’t specific, but this section is said to be coming to help you take part in the Xbox Live community. It should also help you keep tabs on games you’re following, with an overhaul of the activity feed. A new trending section is being put in here as well to showcase “the most popular posts from players on Xbox Live” (presumably this means Xbox.com’s forums or perhaps activity feed items that have received the most likes).
Don’t forget TV, TV, TV. Ok, so that didn’t go over well at Xbox One’s original announcement, but like it or not these consoles are multimedia machines. Games are front and center now, which is great, but for those that like the TV aspects, the OneGuide will now show you a list of trending live TV shows in order by highest current viewership. When you click on a listing, it should show up full screen instantly, and a PiP mode is being added. That’s picture-in-picture for those that didn’t grow up in the 90s. A highlight list of movies, TV shows, and recommendations from across all media apps will be here as well.
Changes to the store are coming too. The new-and-improved Xbox Live Store will be to the right of the OneGuide, dividing content into games, movies & TV, apps, and music. The view will be changed to a vertical rather than horizontal gallery to help you see more listings at once. Categories such as Staff Picks, New Releases, Top Played, Top Rated, Coming Soon, and Recommendations will be there to help you find content you maybe haven’t heard about.
Since this is a pretty massive update, it will be rolling out in phases to preview members rather than all-at-once like it has previously. The first wave will be those preview members who have consistently given the most feedback. Also, it is an opt-in update for preview members, since it’s likely to have rather frequent tweaks (aka more console updates than usual, even for preview members). So those that would rather not set their console to instant-on and want to avoid the annoyance of frequent updates don’t have to take part. For everyone else, an invitation message will be sent via Xbox Live, directing you to launch the Xbox Preview Dashboard to register. From there, you opt-in via the “Preview – New Xbox One Experience” tile. Opting out of this particular preview update will not void your Xbox One Preview Program status going forward, as this is a special case.
The Xbox One Experience update will be rolling out in phases over the coming weeks for preview members. Plebs will have to wait until November.