Today the New Xbox One Experience began rolling out, and with it comes a big change in not only the look and feel of the Xbox One’s Dashboard, but it also brings Windows 10 to Microsoft’s gaming console. The new update brings about a big shift in the user interface, as well as some very anticipated features.

The first thing you’ll notice is the new interface, which departs from the horizontal scrolling of the Windows 8 style interface, to something that fits more into the Windows 10 theme. In fact, the new dashboard is very similar to the Windows 10 Xbox app, including the navigation at the left, and vertical scrolling to access pinned content. Unfortunately, there is still a good 20-25% of the right side of the screen devoted to promotional items, which takes up too much of the on-screen real estate. The old dashboard would also show you the last several items that you did, which was nice since you often did things like Netflix and TV a lot. But the new experience just shows a single item other than the current active task, so you need to scroll down to find them. Luckily when you do, the items are bigger, and offer choices like Watch Live TV or Find TV.

Not all is bad though. The new experience is a lot quicker for social aspects like chatting and finding groups for games. Bringing up the Xbox guide while in a game is much quicker and doesn’t slow the experience to a halt. They’ve been improving on these aspects over the last year or so since they have been one of the top items on the Feedback forum.

I’m not in love with the new UI yet, but maybe I just need some time to get used to it. I had been using the previous UI for almost two years, and I think we’re all a bit stubborn about change.

One thing that looks much better though is the new OneGuide, despite it constantly asking me to plug in my Kinect (which stopped working a couple of weeks ago). The guide comes up much quicker than the previous incarnation, and it’s been subtly chanted to make it easier to use I think. I still wish there was some way to customize the channels, since I don’t get every channel in the listing. Perhaps someone has a better way to do this, but I’ve been setting the channels I do get as favorites, and then just using favorites instead of the guide. This kind of functionality was always part of Media Center, so it’s a bit surprising it doesn’t seem to be there. The new guide will work with either cable, which can be controlled through IR blasting on the Kinect, or you can hook the Xbox up to a TV tuner if you want to cut the cord. And in case you missed it, this is all set up to add DVR capabilities next year.

I think the big thing with today’s update though is the inclusion of backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. Out of the gate, Microsoft is support 104 Xbox 360 titles, with quite a few very popular games already on the list. More will be added over time. The Xbox 360 is actually running in a virtualized environment, so when you are in one of the 360 games, all of the menus and whatnot are actually the Xbox 360 menus, but you can still do things like record game clips and chat using the Xbox One interface. This was a much requested feature, and it expands the capabilities of the Xbox One, as well as the available software titles.

There are more features coming down the line as well. Cortana will be coming as a voice assistant, and it should help a lot over the very basic voice commands the Xbox One uses now. I’ve heard that Cortana will work with either Kinect, or with a headset, which is good since not everyone that might want to use it would own Kinect. Also, the store on Xbox One is being unified with the Windows 10 store, which will add the ability to use Universal Windows Apps tailored for the TV interface. That should open up a whole bunch of opportunities for developers for content consumption apps.

This is easily the biggest change to the Xbox One since it was launched, but over the last two years it has come a long way in terms of features and usability. Microsoft seems to be keen on keeping these updates coming too. I’ll need more time with the new experience to see whether or not I prefer it though. Change can be difficult.

Source: Major Nelson blog

Xbox One Backward Compatibility List

List from majornelson.com

Content Title Content Type Publisher
Assassin’s Creed II Xbox One Game Ubisoft
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Borderlands Xbox One Game 2K Games
CastleStorm Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Condemned: Criminal Origins Xbox One Game Sega
DiRT 3 Xbox One Game Codemasters
DiRT Showdown Xbox One Game Codemasters
Dungeon Siege III Xbox One Game Square Enix
Fable II Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Fallout 3 Xbox One Game Bethesda Softworks
Gears of War Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Gears of War 2 Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Gears of War 3 Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Gears of War: Judgment Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Just Cause 2 Xbox One Game Square Enix
Kameo: Elements of Power Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game Xbox One Game Disney Interactive Studios
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga Xbox One Game Disney Interactive Studios
Mass Effect Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Mirror’s Edge Xbox One Game Electronic Arts
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Xbox One Game Codemasters
Perfect Dark Zero Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Supreme Commander 2 Xbox One Game Square Enix
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas Xbox One Game Ubisoft
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Xbox One Game Ubisoft
South Park: The Stick of Truth Xbox One Game Ubisoft
Tron: Evolution Xbox One Game Disney Interactive Studios
Viva Piñata Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise Xbox One Game Microsoft Studios
A Kingdom for Keflings Arcade Microsoft Studios
A World of Keflings Arcade Microsoft Studios
Alien Hominid HD Arcade Microsoft Studios
Asteroids & Deluxe Arcade Atari
Banjo-Kazooie Arcade Microsoft Studios
Banjo-Tooie Arcade Microsoft Studios
BattleBlock Theater Arcade Microsoft Studios
Bejeweled 2 Arcade Microsoft Studios
Bellator: MMA Onslaught Arcade 345 Games
Beyond Good & Evil HD Arcade Ubisoft
Blood of the Werewolf Arcade Midnight City
BloodRayne: Betrayal Arcade Majesco Entertainment
Call of Juarez Gunslinger Arcade Ubisoft
Castle Crashers Arcade Microsoft Studios
Centipede & Millipede Arcade Atari
Crazy Taxi Arcade Sega
Deadliest Warrior: Legends Arcade 345 Games / Spike Games
Defense Grid: The Awakening Arcade Microsoft Studios
Discs of Tron Arcade Disney Interactive Studios
Doom Arcade Bethesda Softworks
Doom II Arcade Bethesda Softworks
Earthworm Jim HD Arcade Microsoft Studios
Feeding Frenzy Arcade Microsoft Studios
Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown Arcade PopCap Games
Golden Axe Arcade Sega
Halo: Spartan Assault Arcade Microsoft Studios
Hardwood Backgammon Arcade Microsoft Studios
Hardwood Hearts Arcade Microsoft Studios
Hardwood Spades Arcade Microsoft Studios
Heavy Weapon Arcade Microsoft Studios
Hexic HD Arcade Microsoft Studios
Ikaruga Arcade Microsoft Studios
Jetpac Refuelled Arcade Microsoft Studios
Joy Ride Turbo Arcade Microsoft Studios
Lode Runner Arcade Microsoft Studios
LUMINES LIVE! Arcade Microsoft Studios
Metal Slug 3 Arcade SNK PLAYMORE
Metal Slug XX Arcade SNK PLAYMORE
Might & Magic Clash of Heroes Arcade Ubisoft
Missile Command Arcade Atari
Monday Night Combat Arcade Microsoft Studios
Monkey Island 2: Special Edition Arcade Disney Interactive Studios
Monkey Island: Special Edition Arcade Disney Interactive Studios
Ms. Splosion Man Arcade Microsoft Studios
Mutant Blobs Attack!!! Arcade Midnight City
N+ Arcade Microsoft Studios
NBA JAM: On Fire Edition Arcade Electronic Arts
NiGHTS into dreams… Arcade Sega
Pac-Man: Championship Edition Arcade Bandai Namco
Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX+ Arcade Bandai Namco
Perfect Dark Arcade Microsoft Studios
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Arcade Mages.
Pinball FX Arcade Microsoft Studios
Plants vs. Zombies Arcade PopCap
Prince of Persia Arcade Ubisoft
Putty Squad Arcade System 3 Software Ltd
Rayman 3 HD Arcade Ubisoft
R-Type Dimensions Arcade Microsoft Studios
Sacred Citadel Arcade Deep Silver
Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co. Arcade Sega
Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe Arcade Sega
Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World Arcade Sega
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage Arcade Sega
Shadow Complex Arcade Microsoft Studios
Sonic CD Arcade Sega
Sonic The Hedgehog Arcade Sega
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Arcade Sega
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Arcade Sega
Super Meat Boy Arcade Microsoft Studios
Torchlight Arcade Microsoft Studios
Toy Soldiers Arcade Microsoft Studios
Toy Soldiers: Cold War Arcade Microsoft Studios
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon Arcade 345 Games / Comedy Central
Wolfenstein 3D Arcade Bethesda Softworks
Zuma Arcade Microsoft Studios
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  • Alexvrb - Saturday, November 14, 2015 - link

    I'm a PC gamer primarily but I own a lot of consoles too (mostly classics). Realistically most gamers won't notice the difference between the PS4 and XB1. Regardless of specifications, the final output of both is very similar. What's more important to me is the games and the overall experience... which is why I'll probably eventually get an XB1. For starters I enjoy Forza, and I have a decent selection of Xbox 360 games. As their backwards compatibility selection grows, it makes it more appealing. YMMV - I know a lot of people that prefer PS exclusives, it's just a matter of opinion. Reply
  • Michael Bay - Sunday, November 15, 2015 - link

    PS4 literally has nothing right now, while X1 can at least boast Halo. You know they`re desperate if they have to trot out a goddamn corpse of FF7 to dangle it before the gullible. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, November 15, 2015 - link

    They have a few interesting exclusives, not as many as the current and upcoming XB1 lineup. I'm definitely not counting FF7 among those, since it's already multiplatform. The PS4 FF7 port itself is also likely to be disappointing... last I heard it was basically a straight port of the ancient PC version (which itself was basically a higher res straight port of the PSX title) rather than a remastered version. Might as well buy it on Steam for a few bucks - don't even need a REAL PC... it will run on a toaster oven. Just be prepared for oldschool graphics. Reply

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