Microsoft has given the first glimpse of a modified main user interface for their Xbox consoles, reorganising the main homepage and working with Xbox Insiders to fine tune ways to bring more personalisation to the home screen. Once ready, the UI will be rolled out to Xbox consoles sometime in 2023.
This will be an extended process, with Microsoft previewing a number of different designs and adapting to feedback from Xbox Insiders. In the first set of preview updates, they will see:
- The new “Jump back in” row gives you quick access to your most recently played games and apps.
- Easily access important system apps like Settings, Store, Search and My Games & Apps with their own dedicated tiles on Xbox Home.
- Consistent design and visual identifiers with updated layouts to keep the experience familiar.
- When you scroll down, you’ll see curated categories and recommendations tailored to your gaming preferences.
This all seems to suggest that the current method of creating custom views below the main screen will be going away in favour of a homogenised layout. From the screenshots shared, you can see that there will be one fewer main tile for recent apps and games – it’s now 6 instead of 7 – that the Store has a tile on the homepage, and that you can navigate to the Settings app without having to call up the Guide overlay, and there’s also a search bar. The longstanding bugbear of having advertisements on the homepage will remain, though.
Expect this to change over time, though. “We know the Xbox homepage is where our gamers spend a lot of their time, and it’s a space that’s very personal,” writes Ivy Krislov, Senior Product Manager Lead. “We also know we can always be listening and learning how we can do better here while keeping your experience fast and familiar. With that, we’re kicking off a multi-month series of experiments to learn how to create a more personalized home screen experience and address some of the top trends and fan requests. […]
“We are also exploring options for new game channels and collections when you scroll down that include content that’s curated for you based on things like the games you’ve played or how to make the most out of your Game Pass subscription.”
There’s still a chance, in other words, that Microsoft might listen to the persistent request to allow for the wallpaper to be more prominent.
While Microsoft has tinkered with various aspects of the Xbox UI, this is the first major update since the launch of the Xbox Series X|S in November 2020. At that time, Microsoft made the unconventional decision to keep the same UI across both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, promising a consistent experience across the two, even if the Series X|S got new features like Quick Resume. Notorious as they are for tinkering and overhauling the system software, it’s almost impressive that they’ve taken two whole years before deciding to revise the home screen once again.