The new Xbox One dashboard, which will usher in a number of new features including backward compatibility with Xbox 360, will be released on November 12. Confirmation came through a tweet by Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb very early this morning.
Microsoft first showed off the “New Xbox One Experience” (that’s its official name) at E3 in June. The dashboard interface has been completely overhauled: instead of looking like the Windows 8 Start screen, it looks more like a Windows 10 app. The interface is very flat, with a strong focus on typography. Perhaps most importantly, settings, games, social updates and all the good stuff are much easier to access with a gamepad.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the primary focus of the new dashboard is to make it faster and easier to do things.
Other than the new interface, the most notable feature of the Xbox One update is the wide rollout of backward compatibility with Xbox 360. Backward compatibility has been tested by “preview” members since June, but after November 12, anyone can access the feature. Microsoft must manually test and adjust backward compatibility for every Xbox 360 game, and only a small list of games is available at this time. However, Microsoft says it’s working on adding hundreds more to the list.
The update also brings some improved social features – and those social features are now available through an in-game overlay, rather than hidden within apps on the home screen. Cortana was intended to be part of this update, but Microsoft announced earlier in October that it has been delayed until sometime in 2016.
As a curious side note, the new Xbox One experience is said to be based on the “Threshold 2” build of Windows 10. This probably won’t mean much for the consumer experience, but it’s a big step towards Windows 10. across all of Microsoft’s various device form factors.
If you’re an Xbox One preview member, the dashboard update has already started rolling out. For everyone else, the update should arrive globally on November 12.