Microsoft announced that the next major update for the Xbox One will be released on November 12. The coming update includes the New Xbox One Experience, in addition to backward compatibility for some Xbox 360 titles.
The New Xbox One Experience is a revamped user interface that looks similar to the Xbox app available on Windows 10. Instead of using the tile-based design similar to Windows 8, the New Xbox One Experience uses a new system that focuses on vertical and horizontal navigation. The new user interface should improve overall system performance as well.
Backward compatibility is the major feature of this update. This feature gives players the opportunity to play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. Not all titles are currently supported, but compatibility for more than 100 titles is expected at launch.
When played on Xbox One, Xbox 360 games can take advantage of Xbox One features such as screenshots and streaming. Backwards compatibility also supports cross-platform multiplayer. Whether you play an Xbox 360 title on Xbox 360 or Xbox One, you will still be able to play with friends on either console.
The new guide gives Xbox One gamers the opportunity to access more functionality without leaving or even pausing a game. The guide allows users to view friends, notifications, view and respond to messages. According to the Xbox website, “You can access the Guide from Home by pressing left or double tap the Xbox button on your controller to instantly overlay the Guide.”  This functionality should save gamers time and make console interaction less distracting.
For social gamers, Microsoft has added a new Community section. The Community section is designed to help gamers interact with one another through Xbox Live. A redesigned Activity Feed makes it easy for gamers to see what their friends are doing, or view the latest updates for their favorite games.
OneGuide has been modified to be a single home for TV, movies and video apps. A list of trending live TV shows will be visible from OneGuide as another addition for social gamers. A picture-in-picture mode has been added for TV to improve multitasking without interrupting the show.
The New Xbox One Experience has been available to members of the Xbox One Preview program since around the middle of September. The Xbox One Preview program allows users to opt-in for early access to updates that are a work-in-progress. Microsoft is giving Preview members multiple options to update to the New Xbox One Experience before the official November 12 launch date.
Halo 5 and the Xbox One Elite controller both released on October 27. The Elite controller is a highly customizable controller that seeks to give gamers a more refined experience. The controller features many options, such as remappable buttons and modified sensitivity that can be adjusted via an app on the console. The Elite controller also has swappable analog sticks and a swappable d-pad.
With these releases and the New Xbox One Experience, Microsoft appear to be taking an early start towards the holiday season. Halo is typically one of Microsoft’s most popular franchises and a common fan favorite.

Myron Jones
Tech Columnist

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