Microsoft launched a major update for its Xbox One console today, significantly overhauling the system’s interface and introducing long-requested features like backward compatibility for Xbox 360 titles.
Starting today, Xbox One owners can download and install the New Xbox One Experience, replacing an interface that has remained an essential component for the console since its launch in 2013.
The New Xbox One Experience reorganizes system settings and makes frequently launched games and apps more easily accessible for users. The system-wide overhaul recalls Microsoft’s efforts with Windows 10, and promises improved performance with less visual clutter than what was seen in the console’s previous dashboard.
The Xbox One Home screen now gives players fast access to the console’s social features. Users can now see what their friends are playing at a glance, and the process involved in sharing achievements and recorded game clips has been streamlined.
One of the biggest and most-requested additions to the new Xbox One firmware is backward compatibility, adding support for more than 100 games previously released for the Xbox 360. After installing today’s update, users can play landmark games like Fallout 3, Mirror’s Edge, and Fable II on the Xbox One.
Support for additional games via backward compatibility will be rolled out on a monthly basis, and the console will soon support popular releases like Halo Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops and BioShock Infinite.
Today’s dashboard update also introduces game-specific Hubs, giving players a heads-up when new content is available for the games that they own. In addition, expanded Xbox One Guide functionality allows users to double-tap the Xbox One controller’s Guide button to access key features like messages, notifications, and multiplayer party status.
Xbox One owners can download the New Xbox One Experience today by launching the console’s Settings app, navigating to the “System” pane, and choosing the “Update console” option.