We're gearing up for this holiday's launch of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, kick-starting a new generation of gaming and reigniting the long-waged (and thoroughly exhausting) console war.
Look, Microsoft and Sony have their respective strengths in console gaming, whether it's hardware, game selection, or services – but one thing that has clearly been a weakness on the Xbox side of things has been the user interface.
Even with tweaks, the Xbox One interface continues to be sluggish and clumsy, especially compared to the seemingly effortless PlayStation 4 UI.
Luckily, Microsoft got the message: today, the company revealed a number of enhancements coming to the Xbox interface across the new Xbox Series X and the current Xbox One, along with other devices in the Xbox ecosystem. Here's what you need to know.
Clean and quick
The new Xbox interface looks a lot more intuitive than the current version, making it readily apparent where your eyes should be pointing and how to get around. On top of that, text will also be easier to read, and the whole experience seems to be primed for increased accessibility.
And while we want to see it for ourselves on a current Xbox One, the new Home interface is also said to be loads speedier, with 50% faster access to the home screen and 30% faster when pulling out of a game. It's immensely optimised, too, taking up 40% less system memory than before.
We're pretty much all smartphone wizards now, and it's a lot faster to tap out a message on a touch display than to try and use an analog stick and buttons to accomplish the same feat. Microsoft now sees this.
A new Xbox mobile app will be more tightly integrated within the gaming ecosystem, making it easier to stay connected in conversation. On top of that, it will also automatically spring to action to let you share any clips you've recorded on your console, saving precious time as you post your epic headshots and other gaming feats to social media.
Navigating the Xbox store is another pain point right now, but that's something else that Microsoft is fixing this autumn. The company says that new store app is twice as fast as before, whether you're browsing the listings or loading up trailers while checking out new games.
It's also said to be more intuitive and easier to navigate, making it simpler to find the games and associated content you're hunting for, plus there are improvements for parents who want to set child accessibility limits.