It is no secret that Windows 8 and Xbox One were not fan favorites of the generation line they come from. Both struggled to maintain the fast and easy user experiences presented before the official releases. This caused users to downgrade, or switch to a different company altogether. Nevertheless, that was the past. It is now time for Windows 10 and the new Xbox One Experience to take the stage by bringing a whole new meaning to the term, "All-in-one." Users will have direct and complete access to everything they want, on any compatible device, with either Windows 10 or the Xbox One App Beta running. This will undoubtedly be a true game changer.
Windows 10 was released to the general public on July 29th, 2015, as a free upgrade to anyone who was running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 operating systems. It has now been two months since its release, so it is accurate to assume educated opinions can be formed about the new OS. From what I have not only read, but experienced firsthand, Windows 10 is a solid operating system to be running. With that, I am excited to see what Microsoft has in store for us. Let us take a closer look shall we?
This coming November marks the release of Windows 10 on the Xbox One. Though if you are a preview member participating in the now closed Xbox Preview Dashboard program, you may just get access earlier than that. Within the Preview app, you are allowed to opt-in on grabbing updates before the general public gets them a set date later. These updates are classed as beta tests, so bugs can occur. Sending feedback to Microsoft is often encouraged. However, because so many people went to opt-in on the Windows 10 integration update, Microsoft has decided to release the beta in waves every two weeks until the official release. Depending on when you opt-in, and how many preview keys you have earned for your activity on the app, you might just get the update early. What exactly will this update include though?
Thanks to Major Nelson, the Director of Programming at Microsoft, here is some of what we can expect to see within the new Xbox One Experience:
User Experience (UX) Changes - Regardless of Windows 10's integration to Xbox One, this home screen will still look similar to what we see now on the current Xbox One UX. However, the layout is geared to be much more simple and user friendly.
Navigation - Users are going to see some similarities and some differences here. Some of the top menu selections will remain from the current Xbox One layout. Those would be the tabs you would normally use the bumpers to scroll through. However within those top menu selections, we are going to see a lot more content as we vertically navigate up or down to find what we want. The idea behind this is similar to how Sony's PS4 does it, however still looks to be layered preferable to that of an Xbox user. In addition, we will be seeing a few new button shortcuts while on the Home that will allow for quicker navigation.
Guide - Users on the current Xbox One version will know this as the "snap" feature. They were often slow and unreliable on start up, and would cause more problems than provide for easy navigation. While those features will remain in this new version, they will not be the default overlapping navigation guide unless you choose it to be. On this new guide, we will see many of the features we know now such as Friends, Party, Messages, and more. It is said to be a modern design of the previous Xbox 360 guide. The guide will still be triggered by double tapping the Xbox button while in game, but can also be accessed with a simple far left scroll on the Home screen. What pleases me about this new guide besides the increase in speed and reliability, is the fact that it will no longer re-size your screen when you want to access it. Instead, it will act as an overlay to your existing game screen to allow for less interruption of your experience.
Home View - Users are familiar with seeing their most recent played game and apps displayed right in front of them on start up, followed by their pins on the tab to the left of that. These easy to access features will still be available, just with a navigation downward on the Home view.
Friends & Party Improvements - There is really nothing new as far as features go here, but rest assured there will be speed enhancements that will give you instant access to everything you can do currently. These features will have dedicated locations on the new Guide.
Notifications & Settings - Ever been annoyed with having to navigate out of your game to the home screen to view your notifications? Soon enough you will not have to worry about that. The new Guide will have the option to view your previously received notifications just as fast as accessing anything else will be. Along with that, there will be a place to change some simple volume settings on the Guide, as well as a direct link to a revamped Settings application.
Reworked Snap Features - As previously discussed, the current Xbox One snap features would re-size the screen of your game or app you are currently running. While the main Guide and most features are just an overlay, these additional snap features will re-size the screen, but at a faster and non-interrupting rate. These features include DVR, Achievements, and more. These snap features will be accessible through the Guide overlay too.
If you are curious about what all of this actually looks like, here is Major Nelson provided us a preview look at what we can expect out of the new Xbox One Experience.
As you can see, we have a lot of exciting content to look forward to. However, Windows 10 and Xbox still have more in store for us. Earlier on in the article, I mentioned the Xbox One App Beta. This was already released in its beta stages about a week ago, and is free to the public. It works on both Mobile and PC.
The Xbox App provides yet another way to be submersed in the Windows 10 and Xbox One integration, offering features that will allow users to stay updated everywhere they go, even when they are nowhere near their Xbox. We've seen previous versions of this app that were labeled as Xbox 360 & Xbox One Smartglass, but this is a step up. Users are going to be in complete control of their entire Xbox One social experience. They will have access to a real-time News Feed allowing them to view updates with their friends, view game clips, and more. Friends and Messaging will of course be accessible as normal. Also, you can share your DVR clips, achievements, and Gamerscore if you wish. If you think about it, it is basically a Facebook specifically designed for Xbox.
Though, what really separates this app from the Smartglass versions is the ability to access Xbox Live parties and stream live games directly to any Windows 10 enabled PC. When in the app, you have the option to create an Xbox Live party and invite your friends. Even better is the fact that your Xbox does not even need to be on to do so. Now, the streaming portion of the app is only accessible when your Xbox and PC that runs the app are on the same Wi-Fi (or other connection). Your app will communicate with your Xbox and stream a live display of your Xbox directly to your Windows 10 PC. I do have personal experience with streaming, and I do have to say once I got it running, I was quite surprised by how smooth it was. Sure it would pixelize, drop frames, and be delayed at times, but I am also streaming to a medium grade Laptop combined with a rather mediocre bandwidth. There was virtually little to no delay, even when I was playing an FPS using my Laptop's screen to play. Though I reiterate, internet connection and PC specs may alter results.
As far as I could find, there are no specific dates on an official release for either the new Xbox One Experience in November, or the full version of the Xbox One App. In addition, all this information is said to be only some of what is still to be announced. With all that, what is going on inside your head right now? Are you excited for what is to come? Upset it took this long to receive the speed and reliability we thought we would of had earlier? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Source - Microsoft
Source - Thurrott News
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