Microsoft started testing a new Xbox Home UI last month that will arrive in 2023. I got to try an early version of the Home UI this week, and while there are some much-needed improvements, the home portion of the Xbox dashboard is starting to feel like a giant Xbox Game Pass ad.
The main interface now replaces the larger tile for the most recent app or game, with six tiles now all the same size in the top row. These are the latest apps or games, and I’m glad to see Microsoft removed apps like Settings and the Microsoft Store from this recent list, as you can easily access both from the new Xbox Home UI.
While most Xbox users have been asking for a less cluttered home screen UI, this outdated tiled interface does nothing to show off the dynamic backgrounds and wallpapers available on the console. Thankfully, the main section now only has two tiles set aside for ads instead of three, but once you scroll down you’ll find that this home screen is a massive promotion for Xbox Game Pass.
In the area below the main home screen, there is a section for games recently added to Xbox Game Pass. This alone feels like a good addition for Game Pass users, but if you scroll further down it becomes clear that each section is simply an extension of Game Pass or the Microsoft Store to encourage you to download or purchase games .
I think this is fine as a default for new Xbox users, but the main problem is that you can’t customize this interface anymore. On the current Xbox dashboard, it’s easy to press a button or dig into the settings and rearrange sections, remove them altogether, and prioritize your own pinned apps. This new Xbox Home UI is still in early testing, so I assume it will return, but right now it feels like a giant ad without that tweak.
I’m hopeful that Microsoft has many more changes planned. While the Xbox maker has redesigned the Xbox dashboard many times over the past decade, it has largely matured to the point where the Xbox guide is fully functional and most fans have instead been looking for improvements to the home screen and Xbox DVR. asked. Microsoft has also added many features to its Xbox dashboard over the past year, with some impressive additions such as Discord integration, a night mode, and even a 4K dashboard.
I’d like to see Microsoft go much further on the Xbox home screen and offer the type of customization and simplicity we see elsewhere. There are plenty of Xbox fans out there who have poked fun at potential home screen interfaces over the years, and many show a clear desire for a home screen that puts more focus on your own pinned apps or games and the background wallpaper.
Microsoft doesn’t plan to roll out this new Xbox Home UI until 2023, so there are still many months of testing ahead and I’m sure there will be a lot of tweaks and changes as well. Hopefully Microsoft is listening to the community’s desire for a different type of home screen here, but with Xbox trying to unify this UI for Xbox Cloud Gaming, TVs, and Xbox consoles, it’s a much more difficult challenge than throwing together a mockup in photoshop.