Microsoft is pushing out a major update for the Xbox One today with huge improvements to the dashboard, a new lighter theme and more. The Xbox One Fall Update could take some getting used to, but ideally, it shouldn’t take very long because Microsoft has aimed to provide a more streamlined look and make it easier to use. The timing of the update is apt, as the company is preparing to launch the Xbox One X early next month, and it is also pushing details of its Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Microsoft released details about the Xbox Fall Update today, and gamers pounced on the new information and quickly powered on their consoles to check out the changes. The company offered a glimpse of the changes in August, showing off the new Home and the Community and Guide tabs. Then it began collecting feedback from Xbox insiders and testing and refining the new features that make up the Xbox One Fall Update. Microsoft began pushing out the changes today worldwide.
The new Xbox One dashboard allows gamers to personalize their Xbox Home by adding their favorite games, friends and more. Microsoft calls the new concept “blocks,” as each of the items players add to their Xbox Home is placed in a block, which can then be rearranged to their liking or removed. Players can also pin up to 40 items, which will appear in the Pin block on the Home and in the Pins flyout in the new Xbox Guide. The dashboard can also be personalized by choosing from the high-contrast, light or dark themes in Settings.
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Microsoft also aimed to make the Guide easier to use with horizontal tabs that can be navigated via the bumpers or the left thumb stick. Players can bring the Guide up while they’re in a party or even while they’re streaming, and they can set it to open to the broadcast or party section by default during these times.
Game invitations will appear in the Guide’s Multiplayer tab, which also now has a new Tournaments section that enables players to see which community and official tournaments they have joined. Microsoft has also added new titles and tournament options to the Xbox Arena.
The Xbox One Fall Update also brings larger notifications for time-sensitive activities while the console is idle, making them easier to see from further away. Microsoft has also improved the console’s screen-dimming to better prevent ghosting when the screen is dimmed and when Xbox Live notification snapshots are showing. The update also brings a redesigned Game Hub Welcome tab, which now includes content summaries about each game on a single page.
Microsoft is also expecting quite the migration from its current console to the Xbox One X, which is slated for release on Nov. 7. The Xbox One Fall Update features an improved setup experience for the new console, which Microsoft hopes will make it easier and faster for new users and console upgraders alike. The Xbox One Fall Update includes new options for upgraders moving from one console to another, like transferring games to an external drive that can be attached to the new console for immediate play. The options should also work for those upgrading from a standard Xbox One to the One S, which Xbox chief Phil Specter said recently will probably beat the One X in sales because it’s more affordable.
Xbox One owners also have the option to back up their games and settings to an external drive for immediate transfer to the Xbox One X. Microsoft is also making 4K content for certain games available earl so that Xbox One X Enhanced games are ready to play on the first day players have their new console. Other additions include bulk transfer of games from one console to another.
The Xbox One Fall Update also adds broadcast previews to the dashboard’s Mixer tab, which will enable users to see what’s happening in a particular stream before they hop in. Microsoft also increased the Broadcast & Capture tab’s integration with Mixer. After users start a Broadcast, their profile stats will appear in a new flyout. Mixer also now supports a USB webcam so players can include a shot of themselves next to their gameplay or a 1:1 video chat over Skype.