The planned Xbox One refresh with Windows 10 is coming in November, and Microsoft began laying out the details of what will be in it Thursday along with how Preview Program members will get it first. Dubbed “The New Xbox One Experience,” it’s the most significant update to the console yet.
For those familiar with the history of the Xbox 360, the November Xbox One update is akin to the change over from the “Blades” user interface to the Metro UI. Microsoft’s primary goal with the update to Windows 10 is to make moving around the console interface faster and to bring it in line with the current push to make Windows 10 ubiquitous across devices.
“The New Xbox One Experience will be powered by Windows 10, elevating the gaming experience on Xbox One,” Xbox Director of Program Management Mike Ybarra wrote on the Xbox Newswire. “Integrating the speed of Windows 10, the New Xbox One Experience will get you to popular gaming features up to 50 percent faster. Instantly start a party, see what your friends are playing, and get updates to your recently played games from Home with no wait time. We’ll also be delivering your most requested feature – Xbox One Backward Compatibility.”
— Xbox (@Xbox) September 10, 2015
One interesting aspect of the change is the emphasis on the OneGuide feature. This has been moved to the main navigation menu on the Xbox One and is even ahead of the Xbox Store. This is the TV guide for the console that works with cable and satellite providers, over the air (OTA) TV, and select entertainment apps. It will eventually support DVR functionality for OTA TV in 2016.
The November Xbox One update will begin rolling out to Preview Program Members in waves over the next few weeks. Those that have provided the most feedback in the program will be let in first as Microsoft expands the preview out to more and more members.
Those interested in the Xbox One update will be allowed to opt-in while those not comfortable with testing out such a major change will have the option to opt-out and wait for the full release. Those that do participate should expect regular updates over the course of several weeks as the Xbox team works to eliminate bugs and iron out features.
Here is the list of high-level changes coming with the November Xbox One update that Preview Program members will be able to test soon, according to Mike Ybarra, the Director of Management Program for Xbox:
- A new Guide lets you quickly access essentials with just one button press to save time spent weaving in and out of apps. You can access the Guide from Home by pressing left or double tap the Xbox button on your controller to instantly overlay the Guide. You can access Friends, quickly start a Party, get to Settings, see System Notifications, view your Messages, and more from Home or without leaving your game. These are the top tasks Xbox fans do most often, so we focused on making them faster and easier to get to without disrupting your game.
- We’re redesigning Home to make it faster and easier to get to the things you love. We’re introducing a faster and easier interface to provide access to games and apps you’ve recently used. At launch you’ll be able to more easily share your achievements and game clips with the Xbox Live community, see whether your friends are playing the same games and get one-click access to Game Hubs to get news and updates directly from the developers and community themselves.
- We’re introducing a new Community section to make Xbox One more social.Based on your feedback, this section is optimized to help you tap into what other gamers are doing on Xbox Live and directly contribute to the conversation happening within the Xbox Live community. Check out what your friends are up to or keep track of the games you follow in the redesigned Activity Feed. Explore the new Trending section to view the most popular posts from players on Xbox Live.
- The revamped OneGuide will be your single destination for TV, movies and video apps. From OneGuide, you can see a list of current trending live TV shows with the most viewers at that moment on Xbox. TV listings will now come up instantly and in full-screen, and we’ve added a picture-in-picture mode for TV so you can browse for other things to watch without missing what’s happening in your show. We’ll highlight a selection of the most exciting new movies, TV shows and deals from across the apps on Xbox One and the new App Channels area will show you the latest movies, TV shows and videos highlighted by the apps you care about.
- We’re optimizing Store to help you quickly find the content you want. To the right of OneGuide, you’ll find the new and improved Store with features including four easy to explore areas – Games, Movies & TV, Apps, and Music – and a new vertical gallery view to bring more listings at a glance. Browse through intuitive categories like Staff Picks, New Releases, Top played, Top rated, Coming Soon and Recommendations to discover new games, apps, and entertainment for your Xbox One.
[Images via Xbox]