What you need to know
- Microsoft has unveiled a fresh Xbox user interface headed to Xbox One and Xbox Series X, coupled with new features under its next Xbox system update.
- The refresh includes new design guidelines embracing new dynamic themes, rounded corners, and typefaces.
- The new Xbox update enters testing among select Xbox Insiders on Monday, with broader availability scheduled for later in 2020.
Microsoft has outlined plans to release its upcoming Xbox operating system for testers throughout the final week of August, ahead of a public release scheduled for later this year on Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The latest dashboard overhaul received an unveiling last Friday, further revising the user interface with its modern design language, with a sampling of new console features. The first testing wave commences on Monday, among a subset of its Xbox Insider testing program.
The next iteration of the Xbox dashboard mostly resembles its predecessor, injected with system-wide design refinements in preparation for its Xbox Series X console this November. The shift better aligns the console with recent changes made to its Xbox PC and Xbox Game Pass mobile apps, with further refined iconography, more rounded tiles, and new fonts. It also aligns with similar features hitting Windows 10, designed to modernize its experiences across devices.
The latest Xbox UI doesn't feature drastic changes to interactivity by design, meaning you won't need to wrap your brain around another home menu later this year. However, it does bring forward many trends we've seen across new Xbox applications, including the new profile pages previously debuted on Windows 10. Profile Themes enable users to customize their Xbox Live presence with more elaborate themes — including designs from Xbox Game Studios titles.
Microsoft also plans to introduce the capability for Xbox Live accounts to sign into multiple devices simultaneously, tying into its mobile efforts with cloud gaming on mobile. As we previously reported, the update will allow the same profile to be used across more than one console, especially geared toward households with separate activities. While profiles can only play games in one place at a time, players can now boot a game on one device, without kicking out their profile watching a movie elsewhere.
These features rolling out today are just some of the new Xbox experiences, with additions like dynamic backgrounds in the pipeline. The feature has been in development for several years, with traces of internal tests surfacing back in 2017, allowing users to apply moving backgrounds to the dashboard.
The new Xbox refresh first debuts among a small pool of Xbox Insiders, within Microsoft's Alpha Skip Ahead and Alpha ring, with a broader rollout scheduled for the weeks ahead. The update itself drops later in 2020, ahead of its November-bound Xbox Series X.
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