What you need to know
- Xbox is once again updating the dashboard on the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.
- The new interface is familiar, but has some important refinements to improve usability and style.
- Microsoft is asking Xbox users to get involved and provide their feedback either by downloading the Xbox Insider hub on their console, or by jumping into the Xbox Insider subreddit.
The Xbox dashboard in recent years has become something of a source of controversy, with users denigrating the abundance of algorithmic content, while requesting refinements to features like the Xbox Game DVR and so on. Our big Xbox feedback survey from earlier in the year showed that most requests for improvements to Xbox from our audience across the site and socials suggest that the Xbox OS is still a major pain point for Xbox fans, with features like Xbox achievements being largely ignored for upgrades for the best part of a decade or more. Today, we're getting signs of renewed investment in the Xbox dashboard, with a call to action from Microsoft for feedback on some major changes to the experience.
In what Microsoft is calling the "New Xbox Home Experience," Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Skip Ahead ring will begin seeing aspects of the new dashboard very soon. This includes a refined home screen with quick visual access to important features like the settings menu, while surfacing more of your recent content directly on-screen. Microsoft also plans to curate content below the main screen from Xbox Game Pass, using your playstyle preferences to help you find new games.
It still sports the tiled interface which has been depreciated somewhat in Windows 11 itself, although it makes far more sense on the Xbox dashboard in my view, which is primarily access via controller navigation. Some of the main changes are as follows.
- A revamped "Jump Back In" row populates a list of your most recent games and apps at the top.
- A visual search bar and settings menu button can be found right at the top, which should improve ease of access for new users who aren't familiar with the Guide menu.
- A new permanent Microsoft Store button will be found on the home screen, next to three dynamic content tiles as is typical.
- Microsoft is updating other aspects of the dashboard to fall more in line with the new styles. We've seen this recently with a revamp to the Xbox Games & Apps screen.
- There will be new curated content categories below the main screen as you scroll down.
Microsoft is asking for more Xbox Insiders to get involved in the process, either via the official Xbox Insider subreddit or by participating in the Xbox Insider program directly. You can join by downloading the Xbox Insider app on your Xbox console. We have some steps on how to join the Xbox Insider program here.
The new dashboard design is part of what Microsoft describes as a "multi-year" experiment with new features and refinements, and wants Xbox users along for the ride. We've asked Microsoft if the Xbox Game DVR capture features or achievements system may be on the docket for improvements or revamps as part of this renewed spate of development, but we haven't heard back just yet.
I've speculated that the reason the pace of improvements on the Xbox dashboard slowed down a bit in recent years was due to the focus on getting Xbox Cloud Gaming up to speed, but with much of the platform now implemented, we could see more investment hitting the home console side of things.
Some of my pet peeves with the Xbox dashboard pertain to the Game DVR not syncing audio properly when recording clips, alongside the general speed of performing tasks like trimming and sharing. It would be nice if we could shrink down the tiles on the dashboard as well or have them fade out to give us more options for custom backgrounds. I'd also like to see the Xbox achievement system borrow some features from PlayStation, such as so-called "Platinum trophies" for fully completing the entirety of a game's achievements. It would be nice for Xbox to surface other types of gameplay progression too, given that some gamers prefer to stick with a single title over long periods of time. Microsoft previously explored revamping the Xbox achievement system with an Xbox "career" system as it came to be known, but it was unfortunately scrapped before implementation.
Regardless, this renewed focus on soliciting feedback from users on the dashboard is a positive sign for the Xbox platform, and we'll be sure to keep informing you of how the updates are progressing in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
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