It’s been a long time coming, but the new “NXOE” update promising to bring a faster UI experience and Xbox 360 backwards compatibility is finally here as it debuts November 12. Here is a breakdown of everything you should know.
New User Interface Boasting “Faster Performance”
It’s no secret that anyone who has an Xbox One wishes the UI wasn’t as choppy or sluggish. Even the current start-up for the system is inexplicably lengthy. According to Microsoft, things are about to change. The new UI, powered by Windows 10, is said to possess speedier menu navigation and more options quickly accessible from the dashboard. Items such as recently used games and apps, access to “game hubs,” and achievements will be easily reached from your home screen. The home menu now emphasizes a vertical layout rather than the previous horizontal one. Scrolling down will provide a look at recently accessed games and apps while “pins” will be placed at the bottom of the home screen. Although the focus is more vertical, there are still tabs that feature content from the community, OneGuide, and Xbox Store. Pressing left on the home screen will bring up a submenu that accesses friends, parties, notifications, messages, and some settings. This “quick menu” will now be the menu that pops up when double tapping the Xbox button mid-game.
Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility
According to a recent report, there will be 104 Xbox 360 games that will be playable on the Xbox One starting tomorrow. You can view the entire list here. Notable titles include Assassin’s Creed 2, Fallout 3, the Gears of War series, Mass Effect, Mirror’s Edge, South Park: The Stick of Truth, the Viva Piñata series, and all of the Xbox 360 titles included with Rare Replay. Also worth noting is that all future Xbox 360 titles featured in “Games with Gold” each month will be backwards compatible.
Greater Emphasis on Community
By scrolling to the Community tab, players will be able to see friends’ activities, what is popular with others, get information for games that you “follow,” see what is “trending,” and find others with shared interests. This area will also function similarly to the previous “friends” menu in which players can like, comment, and share content of others’.
The new version of Game Hubs lets players to favorite games allowing them to receive updates and posts from developers. They can also view friends playing games owned, check out community screenshots and recorded clips, and see information regarding achievements, statistics, and others’ gamerscore.
Although Xbox avatars have largely been absent on Xbox One, they return with the new update. Avatars function on the Xbox One similar to how they currently function on the Xbox app with Windows 10. Avatars are also getting an upgrade from their Xbox 360 versions as there are now more customization options. Avatars will also be more prominently featured on Xbox One as they will be seen in various places including the activity feed, profiles, and in Game Hubs.
This area looks to offer one destination that can access multiple television, movies, and streaming apps that provides a more streamline experience preventing the need to navigate extra menus for the content.
Another Windows 10 implementation that is making its way over to Xbox One is the digital assistant modeled as Cortana, from the Halo series. You can think of Cortana as functioning similar to Siri from Apple products. Players can access Cortana through speech with the Kinect to ask her questions and have her help with commands mid-game. For instance, players can invite a friend to party-chat with their voice rather than navigating menus. Cortana also enables voice dictation in some instances.
Also, there’s this new trailer: