The global roll out of the new Windows 10 based dashboard for the Xbox One console has begun today and will be a mandatory update for all Xbox One consoles on 23 November.
For some time now Microsoft has stated they have a goal to see Windows 10 on 1 billion devices within the next 2-3 years. The last official count, which was shared during the big hardware event in NYC last month, put the total number of devices running Windows 10 at 110 million. One way they are heading to this goal is by building a common Windows 10 OS that will run on all of their hardware offerings from small Internet of Things devices to the massive 84 inch 4K Surface Hub.
Well that official count is about to get a huge bump as Xbox One consoles begin updating to the New Xbox One Experience (NXOE) over the next two weeks. This new console dashboard, which has been in preview for several weeks now, is based on Windows 10 and brings improvements across the board for faster access to all of the things you do on the console.
My own personal experience over the last few weeks with the NXOE has been very positive. The overall speed of the console, including boot up time and wake from standby mode, is significantly improved over its predecessor. The OneGuide, which was horrendously slow to navigate, now pops up on the screen in just a couple of seconds and quickly scrolls through all of you viewing options including a feature called App Channels to help you easily find content to view from your installed entertainment apps. Overall, Microsoft says the experience is 50% faster than the original Xbox One dashboard and while I have not scientifically measured it myself, it certainly feels much faster in use.
This new update also delivers Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility which allows Xbox 360 gamers to play their Xbox 360 titles on the new console. Every Xbox 360 title will not be backwards compatible, it all depends on the publisher giving Microsoft permission to implement it for their titles, but initially there are over 100 titles available. This library grows monthly for Xbox Live Gold subscribers as every free Games with Gold Xbox 360 title from this day forward will be backwards compatible.
That makes for a great way to grow your gaming library.
According to Xbox Live's Major Nelson this is the rollout schedule:
- Initial rollout began at 3 AM Eastern Standard Time on 12 November 2015 (see here for your local time)
- Backwards Compatibility eligible titles will become available at 3 PM Eastern Standard Time on 12 November 2015 (see here for your local time)
- Any Xbox One consoles not updated to NXOE by 23 November 2015 will be prompted to install the mandatory update
This is a staggered roll out so not everyone will see it immediately although you can go to System > Settings and manually check for the update if you can't wait for it to arrive on its own.
Here are some resources to help you get up to speed on the new console experience:
- Information about updating the Xbox One console
- Xbox One version and systems update page
- The New Xbox One Experience
- Xbox One Backwards Compatibility page with list of current Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles
There is one significant feature that is not making the transition from the original Xbox One dashboard to the NXOE and that is Kinect gestures support.
During an interview with Windows Central, Xbox's Mike Ybarra, who is Microsoft's lead on the development of the NXOE stated that telemetry showed that gestures usage was very, very low and so it was not included in the NXOE.
I have no doubt those who used this feature regularly will not be happy about its removal. This is however, another example of how telemetry allows Microsoft to focus on other areas of their software and services instead of spending development time and money on less used features.
One last note. The new console software is Windows 10 Build 10586, the same build number that was released to Windows 10 Insiders last week, and is expected to be the main Threshold 2 update for PCs which is expected this month. Seems like the versioning of Windows 10 across the various platforms is starting to align.
So have you received the NXOE update yet? What are your initial impressions of the new console software?