Even with the improvements Microsoft has made to the Xbox One dashboard since the console launched in November 2013, you couldn’t call it speedy. Plus, plenty of usability issues remain — not that the PlayStation 4 is immune from these criticisms, mind you. Microsoft’s next revision to the interface is coming in April, alongside the Windows 10 Creators Update, and the company showed off the most promising change yesterday.
Mike Ybarra, head of platform engineering for Xbox, livestreamed some of Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us to show off the features. He ran the stream on the Beam platform, which Microsoft is integrating directly into Windows 10 and Xbox One this spring. In an Xbox Wire post last week, he explained that Microsoft is reworking the dashboard with a focus on speed.
“Through one press of the Xbox button on your controller, you’ll be able to pull up the newly enhanced Guide as an overlay on the left side of your screen no matter what you’re doing,” said Ybarra. “In addition, we’re rebuilding the most popular multitasking experiences for speed and ease of access.”
The revised Guide appears to function like the PS4’s Quick Menu, in the sense that it pops up over whatever you’re doing rather than sending you to back to the console’s dashboard. The Guide overlay will feature a new “Jump” section that will offer shortcuts to locations like the Xbox Store and the console’s home screen. More importantly, it will include a list of recently used games and apps, which should significantly speed up multitasking — you’ll be able to jump directly back and forth between programs, rather than having to wait for the console to load up the dashboard.
Other new elements of the Xbox One’s spring update include an overlay for tracking Achievements, a Gamerscore leaderboard, controls for background music, a redesign to Cortana and more robust social features. On the PC side, the Creators Update will add a Game Mode to Windows 10, which is designed to “optimize your Windows 10 PC for increased performance in gaming,” according to Ybarra.