Having revealed the new visual design for the unified cross-generation Xbox user interface and user experience earlier this month, Microsoft have now put this into public testing, announcing that it is being pushed out the Xbox Insiders on Xbox One starting today.
This will be a purely visual update to start with, following in the footsteps of the Fluid Design language that has already spread to Xbox PC and mobile apps over the last year, and the Microsoft Store on console. It changes the tile shape, fonts and focus indicator in particular, hoping to add greater clarity in addition to looking a little bit more stylish in general, but it will not be making dramatic changes to the Xbox UI. The idea is for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X to share an interface, and there’s no point in Microsoft throwing out all of the work that they’ve done up until this point.
However, there are some UI changes coming, and Microsoft’s continual evolution is continuing. The August 2020 update for the Xbox One is rolling out to all users now, one again revising the Guide overlay that appears when you press the Xbox button. Here’s what it will look like in the test and once Series X is out.
There’s some interesting changes here, continuing on from the revamp made in May. The tabs at the top are in the new order, but can be customised, but the button bar linking to the Store and Notifications are now below the list of recent games, which has itself been reduced from five items to four. All subtle little tweaks, but here’s the big thing: there’s now no big advert for Xbox Game Pass at the bottom. Yes, there’s still a Game Pass button there, but its presence is greatly reduced.
Elsewhere, there’s now the ability to adjust party member volumes independently, for those instances where you just don’t have the heart to tell your mate to adjust his mic for the seventeenth time. There’s also unification of how items in the Community pinned page will appear, and more little tweaks here and there.
Behind the scenes, there’s also a pretty big change to how logging into your account works. With Xbox Game Pass meaning that you can play games on your Android phone, you could be booted out of a session by someone simply logging in on another console. Now you can log in on as many Xbox consoles and Xbox apps as you want for the purposes of using apps, streaming video, chatting with friends, checking achievements and more.
However, you can still only play a game with your account on one device at a time, to ensure progress, achievements and saves are up to date and synced (game sharing with multiple user accounts and a designated home console should still work, though). As someone with multiple consoles in the home and a tendency to play online co-op locally, this solves a little bit of faff from that experience.