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article imageXbox One update now available with all-new interface and features

By James Walker     Nov 12, 2015 in Entertainment
Microsoft's Windows 10-powered Xbox One New Experience console update is rolling out to all gamers today. It includes a redesigned interface and support for backwards compatibility, a feature the team has revealed it previously thought impossible.
The most immediately noticeable feature of the update will be the all new vertically-scrolling Home screen. It puts player content first and is up to 50 percent faster than the old horizontal tiled menu the console originally shipped with. Shortcuts let gamers jump straight to pinned content, community features or the new-look Store and OneGuide with just one button press.
While in game, a redesigned Guide lets players communicate with each other without leaving the action. Party chats can be read, replied to and managed while playing and media functions such as recording gameplay and saving screenshots have been simplified. Important settings like headset volume can now be adjusted on the fly, letting players do more without leaving the action.
Images of the New Xbox One Experience update interface
Images of the New Xbox One Experience update interface
One of the most requested new features in the update is backwards compatibility with some Xbox 360 games — 104 titles are supported from today's launch but more will be added in the future, based on fan requests left on the Xbox Feedback site and Xbox UserVoice.
Harvey Eagle, Xbox UK's Marketing Director, told TechRadar today that the hugely popular feature nearly didn't happen because the Xbox engineering team didn't believe it to be possible. In an important lesson about success and failure, it emerged the only reason they didn't think it was possible was because they had never tried. Eagle said: "I'll be honest with you, at the beginning we said it was impossible - but we hadn't tried."
Promotional image for Xbox One backwards compatibility
Promotional image for Xbox One backwards compatibility
Xbox Wire
They realized the potential of the feature and listened to the feedback from the vocal fan community requesting it. Eventually, a team member went to Phil Spencer, Microsoft's head of Xbox, with an idea on how to make it happen. An Xbox spokesperson said to TechRadar: "Spencer told him to go away and make it happen and that's how it happened."
Microsoft describes the update as a "complete transformation of Windows 10." Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, said: "We put fans at the center of everything we do and wanted to make some big changes, including enabling one of your most requested features - the ability to play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. We also wanted to meaningfully improve how gamers interact with Xbox One and redesigned it to make it the fastest and most social Xbox experience ever."
Images of the New Xbox One Experience update interface
Images of the New Xbox One Experience update interface
There are several other new features in the Xbox One New Experience that are waiting to be discovered by gamers. Gamer avatars from the Xbox 360 are back with modern graphical effects to boot while new settings make it possible to remap the buttons on any controller to suit personal preference.
Microsoft isn't stopping with this release though. As with the entire Windows 10 ecosystem, the Xbox One will continue moving forward each month. Early next year, Cortana will be coming to the console, letting gamers send messages, take screenshots, check if a friend is online or just hear the news read aloud, all using only their voice and without leaving their game.
Microsoft is also confident that players are now happy with their consoles after the disastrous controversies surrounding the Xbox One at its 2013 launch. Eagle told TechRadar that Xbox has made "great strides" in regaining community faith and has "good momentum at the moment."
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