The Xbox dashboard is receiving an August 2020 update in preparation for the updated Xbox Series X UI.
This follows on from the Xbox Experience video released last week that introduced upcoming Xbox features, such as the ability to save and share videos directly from your mobile devices rather than your console.
Here's a breakdown of all the recent changes and "subtle improvements" added in the August update, as outlined in this blog post by Jonathan Hildebrant, the Principal Program Manager of Xbox Experiences.
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Improved Xbox Guide
Microsoft has redesigned the Xbox landing page based on player feedback to make it easier to read and navigate. Xbox players will now be able to shift between apps, games and the Dashboard much more seamlessly.
Users will also be able to tailor the Guide to their preference by shifting the ordering of Tabs to suit how they use the console. Microsoft has added some of the most important settings and utilities to the bottom of the Guide, allowing easy access to notifications, audio settings, and search function.
Refined Notifications Tab
Microsoft has improved on the Xbox One's notifications, consolidating the notifications in an easy-to-access tab at the bottom of the Guide. This will include notifications from all aspects of the Xbox experience, including: Xbox alerts, messages, invites and installation updates.
After the new Xbox Mobile application launches its beta, players will be able to access their notifications from across their Xbox devices, making xCloud gaming a much more enticing product.
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Improved Party and Chat functions
After Xbox parties and chats were combined into one tab earlier this year, Microsoft has continued to improve on their communication features. The latest update sees players able to alter the sound levels for individual players in their party - perfect for when someone has a lower quality microphone, or when their background noise is too loud.
Players will also be able to view previews of their incoming messages through this new update.
Revamped Activity Feed
The community pages on the Xbox Dashboard are often overlooked, but Microsoft is committed to improving and enhancing player experience when browsing and sharing on content on the platform.
All posts on the Community and Club pages are now the same size, meaning players will no longer have to edit their posts or hope the algorithm displays the correct content. Microsoft has also reduced the size of text and metadata over content that previously obscured part of the posts.
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Upcoming Updates for Xbox Insiders
Xbox Insiders will also get the chance to test more upcoming Xbox features later this month. Insiders will see their console visuals updated to match the PC and mobile experiences, which will include changes to fonts and tile shapes.
However, Microsoft assures users that "the overall layout of most of the pages will not be drastically changing, so you don’t have to learn a whole new UI when Xbox Series X launches."
Aside from updated visuals, Insiders will be able to try out custom Profile Themes and a new feature that allows players to sign into multiple Xbox devices at the same time. This will allow a family to use an Xbox One. to watch Netflix, for example, while another person plays games on their mobile via xCloud.
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