Xbox One Gets Its Biggest Software Redesign to Date

On the 12th of November Microsoft unveiled its latest update for its Xbox users. The update has been available to Xbox Preview Members since this summer and this is its first appearance to the general public. Many consider this to be Xbox's biggest software enhancement to date. The update brings multiple new features and changes to some of the most important features gamers use most. 

 Welcome to Your New Home

With the update, almost every feature has been redesigned and simplified. On the new Home screen, vertical scrolling has been added for faster access to content and activities. Users can now see what their friends are playing, share their game clips and access their pins all from one screen. Scrolling up new reveals a user’s recent games, apps and pins and offers more information for previously played games.  

The Store also received a large redesign from the update. The new store now expands into four simplified categories: Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Music. A brand new vertical gallery allows users to view new content and easily gather more information for the content they are interested in.  New categories like Favorite Staff Picks, Coming Soon, Top Played, etc. also allow players to easily discover great content. 

Faster and Improved Xbox One Social Experience

Microsoft claims with the integration of Windows 10 in the update your console can run 50% faster than before. They claim that gamers can launch parties almost instantly and friends can join each other faster than ever. A new feature that Microsoft calls the "Guide" (which is very similar to how gamers used to snap apps previously), plays a huge role in the boost to performance speeds. From the guide you can quickly see your friends, start a party, read and respond to messages, and view any new notifications. Gamers should get use to this new feature quickly because I have found myself using it more than ever. 

Community, Community, Community

Microsoft also focused on the community in many ways with the update. New features can be found throughout the update the focuses heavily on the community and changes to previous features like your feed now have a dedicated place on your home screen. In the new community area users can quickly view their friends shared activity and what is trending on Xbox Live. Players can comment, like, and share content all from the same area. Users can also follow their favorite game publishers to receive the latest news from them right to their feed.

Game hubs have also been redesigned with the latest update. Players now have the ability to view game hubs by clicking on them from their home screen. Here users can see which of their friends are playing, their achievements and get easy access to the game in the store. Gamers can also view the latest news from the publishers and trending activity from Xbox Live for that game. 

Backwards Compatibility

Back in June, Microsoft announced Backwards Compatibility and it has finally arrived to the public. The list of supported games is already over 100 like Microsoft promised back in June.  The company has already told players to expect new games to be added monthly starting in December. Fan favorites that did not make the list in November include Halo Reach, Halo Wars, Skate 3, BioShock, BioShock 2, BioShock Infinite and Call of Duty: Black Ops and these titles have already been confirmed to be supported in later updates. 

The new feature allows users to install or download Xbox 360 titles and play them on Xbox One while keeping all of the features that come with console like the DVR, screenshots, and Windows 10 streaming. Xbox Live gold members will be able to play with their friends no matter what console their on and all players can keep their game saves, add-ons, achievements, and gamer score. For backwards compatibility to become available users MUST update to the new OS. 

Microsoft worked to fix the issues of the last OS and listened to the community for the features they wanted. Backwards Compatibility is a prime example of this. If you are hesitant to update, don't wait! The new features and increased speed performance have been lovely to use. The redesign will take some getting use to, but Microsoft has done an amazing job to make it as smooth as possible.