A new Xbox HomeUI is currently being tested by Microsoft. I tried an early version of the HomeUI this week, and while there are some improvements, the home section of the dashboard is starting to feel like a big ad.
Six tiles are the same size across the top row as the main interface replaced the larger tile. I am happy to see that the Microsoft Store has been removed from this list because you can easily access both from the new XBOX HomeUI.
The tiled interface on the home screen doesn't show off the dynamic background and wallpaper that is available on the console. Thankfully, the main section now has only two tiles reserved for ads instead of three, but once you scroll down you will see that this home screen is a giant promotion for XBOX Game Pass.
There is a section below the main home screen for recently added games. This is a good addition for Game Pass users, but it is clear that every section is an extension of the Microsoft Store to encourage you to download or purchase games.
The biggest issue with this interface is that you can't change it anymore. It is easy to hit a button or dig into the settings and rearrange the sections on the dashboard. I assume this will come back, but right now it feels like a giant ad without the personalization.
Microsoft has a lot of changes in the works. Over the past decade, the Xbox dashboard has been updated many times, but it has mostly matured to the point where the Xbox Guide is fully functional and most fans want improvements to the home screen. Over the past year, Microsoft has added a lot of features to its dashboard, including a night mode and a 4k dashboard.
I would like to see Microsoft go further on the Xbox Home screen and give us the type of customization and simplicity we see elsewhere. Over the years, there have been plenty of Xbox fans that have mocked up the home screen interface, and many show a desire for a home screen that puts more focus on your own pinned apps or games.
There are many months ahead of testing and I am sure there will be a lot of changes. Hopefully Microsoft listens to the community's desire for a different type of home screen here, but with Xbox trying to unify thisUI across Xbox Cloud gaming, TVs, and Xbox consoles, it's a far more difficult challenge than throwing together a mock up in a word processor.