Following on from their next-gen overhaul of the Xbox visual design in October, Microsoft have made a few more tweaks to the unified Xbox Experience now that the Xbox Series X and Series S are out in the wild.
The November update was pushed live for all users yesterday (so that it could still just about be November), bringing more dynamic themes for Xbox Series X|S users to choose from, adding icons for X|S optimised games and Auto HDR, and expanding the ability to pre-install games you don’t own to work through Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox Series X|S debuted dynamic backgrounds for the system’s home menu for the first time, with a neat wave effect that runs behind the various games and apps you have on the home screen. Now there’s several other options including some colourful Spotlight blurs (none of which look good in my opinion), a ripple effect that will line up behind your most recent game, and a cool slowly shifting background with a single stripe of your chosen UI colour. Nothing groundbreaking, but the options are nice to have and Microsoft can hopefully come up with some more inventive and attractive options in future.
Already added with the console’s day one update, Series X|S optimised games have an X|S icon on their entries in the game library, so you know which games are updated and enhanced for the new systems. You can also filter your library to only show optimised titles.
Additionally, it could be a little tricky to figure out which games Auto HDR has been enabled for. Now, if you press the Xbox button and bring up the Guide, an Auto HDR marker will appear in the top right corner to let you know.
The Achievements section of the Guide has been replaced with a Game Activity section, which still functions to show you your achievements, but also quickly links to friends who are playing games, Looking for Group, Events and the Club page for your current game.
Setting up a new Xbox console for a whole family will be a little easier, thanks to the Xbox app now tapping into the Xbox Family Settings app to let you draw all connected users within a family together onto the system at once. No more logging in one at a time.
And finally, while you’ve been able to install any and every game to your console via the Xbox app since its October relaunch, regardless of whether you own it or not, eager Xbox Game Pass beavers can now use that functionality on the console itself. The Xbox Game Pass section will now let you pre-install upcoming additions to the subscription service. Not everything will be included in this, but you’ll still be able to queue them up to install as soon as they’re ready.