Although the console wars aren’t as heated as they used to be, Microsoft still has to face the facts: the Xbox One has struggled to keep up with the PS4’s sales, leaving the newest-generation Xbox with a lot of catching up to do heading into the 2015 holiday season. Despite the sales gap, Microsoft has still found cause for optimism: the Xbox One has briefly usurped the PS4’s iron grip on sales figures on a few occasions, and the development team behind the console has been hard at work looking for ways to improve its functionality and consumer appeal.
It’s no secret that Sony and Microsoft both value their console’s abilities to interact with gamers on social platforms, as the PS4’s upcoming 3.0 Update shows. Microsoft is still very much a contender in the console sales market, however, and a recent post on Xbox Wire has confirmed that Sony isn’t the only industry giant looking to make their system a more social experience.
Xbox’s director of program management, Mike Ybarra, released a massive news update today, detailing a number of improvements that are coming to the Xbox One‘s dashboard in November. Of course, the biggest news is that the November update will let players bring their Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One, with one hundred titles being available when the service launches and many hundreds more promised to come later. Ybarra also confirmed that gamers still enjoying the Xbox 360 will be able to play multiplayer with their friends on the Xbox One, as long as both people own the backwards compatible game in question.
Backwards compatible elephant in the room aside, there are some other notable updates scheduled for November that will also vastly improve user’s experiences with the interface. Ybarra’s post states that the Xbox team is redesigning Home to “make it faster and easier to get to the things you love”, which basically means that gamers will be able to reach their achievements, streaming options, and friends lists much quicker on start-up than they can currently. For adult gamers who don’t have a lot of time in the first place, not having to spend a crucial five minutes on sorting out which achievements to pursue or who is online to play with is a huge bonus.
In fact, who is online is going to become increasingly important to the Xbox One experience. The November update will also introduce a Community section to the Xbox One dashboard that is designed to help gamers join conversations happening in real time in the Xbox community. The Activity Feed will be redesigned to make keeping up with friend’s actions and favorite games easier, and a new Twitter-like Trending section will be added that will help track the most popular posts in the Community section.
Xbox is planning to roll these changes out slowly, offering a preview of the update in coming weeks for those users choosing to opt-in for it. With Microsoft expecting a big surge in sales in the second half of this year, any improvement to the Xbox One prior to the holiday rush will surely make that a more likely reality. Past updates have certainly brought the Xbox One closer to matching the PS4’s initial functionality, but it appears the dashboard’s seminal moment is yet to come.
How do you feel about console’s increasing their focus on social functionality? Do you like the Xbox One dashboard as is? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Xbox Wire