Xbox One just got a huge point that Sony didn’t: backward compatibility.
That’s not the only new trick Microsoft has up their sleeve, however. Xbox One’s focus for their redesigned dashboard is mainly speed and ease of use, and a wave of beta testers were recently drafted to test this new experience. The public can expect it to be released in November, but until then, what do you have to look forward to?
Basically, the Xbox One software update is a streamlined version of Windows 10, but without things you wouldn’t need on a gaming console, like printer drivers. (Although it would come in handy for in-game screenshots. Write that down, Microsoft.) Like the Windows 10 update that you’ve probably already installed on your PC, Xbox One still has a tile system, but there’s more vertical scrolling than horizontal. You can find the game you left off with at the top of the screen. When you scroll down, the right trigger takes you to all the games and such that you have pinned. A flick of the left trigger sends you back to your most recent game or app.
There’s a Xbox One Guide that you can access by pressing left or double tapping on the Xbox button, and from it you can see who of your friends are online, and even join their parties! You’ll also find your notifications there, and they’ll be grouped together for convenience. In addition, you can see your messages and settings from the Guide; the Xbox One Snap apps are also listed here. Speaking of Snap apps–they’ve been switched from the right side of the screen to the left, because, as Richard Irving from Xbox engineering explains, “it’s just easier for the eyes to make that sort of adjustment.”
On the right hand side of your Xbox One Home screen, there is the OneGuide. This is where you can find what’s trending on live TV, movies, and your favorite apps. The Xbox Store is also easier to navigate, as it now has four easy access areas to shop from: Games, Movies and TV, Apps, and Music. The Store also features the new vertical gallery view.
Xbox is hoping that these updates will bring an improvement in speed with them as well. Head of Xbox engineering Mike Ybarra had this to say.
“Fans have told us they want to get into parties faster, they want to see what their friends are doing faster…All of that we are going to enable, with some new features, plus Windows 10 is allowing us to bring a new level of speed and responsiveness to customers.”
As for the backward compatibility: that’s happening too. Following the update in November, Xbox One will support Xbox 360 playback. It won’t be available for all Xbox 360 games at first, but more than 100 games will be supported at launch, with hundreds more on the way.
A bit of warning, though, if you are a beta tester. Last week, Xbox announced that with the Xbox One beta update, some games, such as Destiny: The Taken King, will not work with the preview software, so please don’t download unless you are prepared for any consequences that may follow installation.
[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Xbox]