The Xbox team at Microsoft is ready to roll out one of its biggest updates to the Xbox One. The New Xbox One Experience is available to download, and it includes a visual upgrade to the interface, backwards compatibility, and improved functionality for existing features.
Ease Of Access And Community Improvements
While playing a game or sitting on the Home screen, you can access a quick guide that contains information on your profile and the status of your friends. You can also use it to quickly change settings, start a party, and answer messages.
There's also a big focus on the online community, as evidenced by the new Community section. Here, you can look at what games your friends are playing and create your own social posts such as screenshots or videos. During big events such as E3, the page will also host livestreams from Xbox staffers on the show floor.
Entertainment And Store
Since its reveal, the Xbox One was presented as more than a gaming console. With the help of various apps and OneGuide, it could be used as an entertainment center to watch live TV or movies on Netflix.
OneGuide aims to be the sole hub of TV and movies on Xbox One. To that end, the update includes a hybrid of live TV listings both from over-the-air channels and, in the future, Sling TV. There's also quick access to various apps such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, with the ability to use picture-in-picture to keep track of two shows at once.
The virtual store includes some improvements as well, most notably in its overall presentation. You can begin by choosing from one of four categories: Games, Movies & TV, Apps, and Music. From there, the choices are split into multiple sub-categories ranging from Top Rated selection, Recommendations, and even a special place for games that are coming soon to the console.
Perhaps the most anticipated feature was the ability to play certain Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. Days before the big update, the company released the first 104 Xbox 360 games that you could play on the current console. In addition, multiplayer functionality on these old games are also available as part of the feature.
For a limited time, all Xbox One owners can participate in multiplayer gameplay whether or not they currently have an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
While the New Xbox One Experience is now available for download, backwards compatibility won't be in place until 12pm PST, later today.
Other features include Avatars, which were a main part of your Xbox 360 profile, but are now included for the Xbox One. Obviously, it has some drastic visual upgrades such as lighting and shading and anti-aliasing features. The result is a modern version of what's considered to be a classic staple of the Xbox 360.
There's also the implementation of remapping button assignments on any controller. Initially, this was supposed to be an exclusive part of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, but the company turned around and opened the feature to the basic controller as well, saving you an extra $150.
Good For Now
The first hint of this upgrade was mentioned at E3 alongside the Xbox Elite Wireless and backwards compatibility news. However, the details didn't surface until September. Obviously, smaller improvements will be made in the next few months, but the timing of this update comes in conjunction with the Xbox One's two-year anniversary. The New Xbox One Experience is a milestone for the console, showing fans how far it has come since its November 22, 2013 launch date.
Rexly Peñaflorida II is a Contributor at Tom’s Hardware. He writes news on tech and hardware, but mostly focuses on gaming news. As a Chicagoan, he believes that deep dish pizza is real pizza and ketchup should never be on hot dogs. Ever. Also, Portillo’s is amazing.