What you need to know
- The Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles share an interface, with a large button on the dashboard dedicated to pooling your digital games.
- The Xbox Insider Program lets Xbox users test upcoming versions of the dashboard and other apps.
- The latest build on the Xbox Insider Program has some refinements to the Games & Apps library, adding a tabbed interface that separates content by source.
The Xbox dashboard has seen a few interesting updates in recent times, most notably perhaps the inclusion of Discord as part of the Xbox Insider Program. This latest Xbox Insider Alpha Ring build has issued some notable changes to the Games & Apps section, which is typically where you go to browse all of your installed content and available games for download.
The new interface revamps the "Full Library" section of the dashboard, which was admittedly a little cluttered in the previous incarnation. Now, it sports a speedy tabbed interface with horizontal labels for different pools of content, separating "Owned games" that you've purchased outright from libraries like Xbox Game Pass or EA Play.
Each tab section has a design with specific features for that pool of content in mind. For example, the full "owned games" list doesn't exactly need to show you "recent additions" or "leaving soon" filters, which is exactly what the Xbox Game Pass tab has instead. You still get the regular filters as previous, with the ability to change the sizes of the tiles to fit more content on a single screen.
Right now, the tabs are as follows:
- "All games," which pools every content source into a single library.
- "Owned games," which refers to all content you've purchased.
- "Xbox Game Pass," which is licenses that you have access to as a result of that subscription. This section also has lists for "Play Later," "Recently added," and "Leaving soon" at the top of its library.
- "EA Play," which can be purchased separately or as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This includes games from Electronic Arts including Battlefield, FIFA, and Mass Effect. Similarly, this has a "Recently added" list, but also includes a "Game Trials" list for new titles that come with a 10-hour limited access feature as part of that subscription.
- "Games with Gold" includes all the titles that you can grab as part of Xbox Live Gold's free monthly games offering.
- Finally, there's a section specifically for apps like Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, and so on.
To speculate, Microsoft may have built this streamlined section to incorporate other future gaming subscription pools into the library. Recently, Ubisoft+ assets were discovered by Aggiornamenti Lumia on Twitter in Xbox's back-end. It lends further fuel to earlier rumors that Microsoft may be exploring a partnership with the Assassin's Creed publisher, in a collaboration that could be similar to what Xbox Game Pass has with EA Play. Ubisoft+ is already available as a separate service on PC, but can also be purchased as part of PlayStation Plus and even Amazon's nascent streaming service Luna.
Increasingly, it seems like subscription services are going to be an important part of AAA publisher revenue streams, and the change to the Xbox Games & Apps library is most likely designed to accommodate that. Xbox has been hard at work adding features and content to its own Xbox Game Pass service, with a Friends & Family plan just over the horizon.
The new Xbox Games & Apps library is available now as part of the Xbox Insider Program, and will likely roll out to the general public in the coming weeks.
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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