Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, shared the details in a news post, calling the change the “New Xbox One Experience.”
The biggest change will be backwards compatibility, which Microsoft has been talking about for a few months now. You’ll be able to play your Xbox 360 games on Xbox One at no additional cost (or at least the 100 or so games that will be available at launch, with hundreds more to come). Backwards compatibility will include all the normal Xbox One features, like screenshots, streaming, and game DVR. Plus, you’ll still be able to do multiplayer with your friends, even if they’re still using their Xbox 360.
The New Xbox One Experience will be a system powered by Windows 10. This will make many of the browsing and social features 50% faster. On top of that, browsing and social in general will be more streamlined. There will be a redesign of the Home screen, a new Community section and Trending section, and a revamped OneGuide for your TV and movie needs.
The updated Guide (not to be confused with OneGuide) will let you access some of the console’s most commonly used features. “You can access Friends, quickly start a Party, get to Settings, see System Notifications, view your Messages, and more from Home or without leaving your game. These are the top tasks Xbox fans do most often, so we focused on making them faster and easier to get to without disrupting your game,” says Ybarra.
The new Community section will let you find out what your friends are up to (provided they’ve shared their activities with you—this can be changed in the settings under Privacy), keep track of games you’ve followed in a redesigned Activity Feed, and take a look at the Trending section to see the most popular posts from the Xbox Live community.
Finally, the Store has also received a redesign, with four areas to explore: Games, Movies & TV, Apps, and Music. Along with those will be more options for narrowing down your search: Staff Picks, New Releases, Top played, Top rated, Coming Soon, and Recommendations.
Xbox is rolling out the New Xbox One Experience for a select few preview members before the big release in November. The first batch of previewers will be those players who have contributed significant feedback in the past. If you are part of this group, you’ll receive an email with the ability to opt-in to the testing phase. Keep in mind this will likely be a period of changing features and bug-tracking, so if you’re not prepared to encounter some oddities, you might want to opt out of the preview group.