May 21, 2024

Xbox’s latest update is coming out, and it’s all about customization

Microsoft has released the latest Xbox update to Alpha Ring insiders today — and staff claim the best way to describe it is “customizable.”

On the home screen, gamers will have new buttons, including one that will let them launch a paused game, and one which will suggest other players to friend. Underneath that, there’ll be a bar with buttons for various recently played games, along with obnoxiously large buttons advertising other games to buy. That’s an addition I can do without, but who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to customize your home screen to not have that.

One of the most notable additions is “Content Blocks,” which allows gamers to pin games, friends, and communities to their home page, so it’ll be easier to find them … in theory, anyway. Says Mike Ybarra, VP of Platform Engineering:

For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title.

The Guide now comes with a horizontal tab layout, and when you click on anything in the tab, such as a friend’s name, a new tab will be layered over the previous one, which looks a bit messy to me.

Finally, the Activity Feed has gotten a facelift, with every update, including comments and clips, going to full screen when you look at them. Looking at Reddit, some are a little unsure, calling the new look “cluttered.” Apparently many were fine with the Xbox layout the way it was.

Honestly, I look at it and see it becoming very much like the PS4’s layout, which I find unintuitive and annoying. It’s got the same over-designed news layout, and a similar Activity Feed. Unless I can conceivably strip down the interface to the bare essentials of my Avatar and my game list, this probably won’t be a change I can appreciate.

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