Microsoft is releasing new homepage layouts for Xbox Insiders, but the response so far has been largely negative.
Several variations of the new homepage will be made available to Xbox Series X|S Insiders in the coming months. A global launch is expected in 2023, as per the official announcement on the Xbox Wire Blog (opens in new tab).
What is likely the first of many new layouts appears to have some decent quality-of-life updates. The home panel now has dedicated tiles for the Microsoft Store and the Settings app. As it stands they are usually found further down the menu or buried under the ‘My Games & Apps’ section.
Despite these improvements, Xbox fans don’t seem too interested in the changes so far. The most common complaint in twitter (opens in new tab) shows a dislike for the tile clutter that blocks much of the background wallpaper. Others still hate the continuous inclusion of ads taking up space on the homepage.
Is the new dashboard really that bad?
My two cents? I really don’t think this new homepage layout is all that bad. I’m a fan of the ‘Jump back in’ section at the top which seems to be making the most of Xbox’s Quick Resume feature. I also really like having quick access to the Settings menu. And finally, we have a search bar that is not hidden in the Microsoft Store.
It’s definitely not perfect, though. I agree that the continuous inclusion of an ad unit is not so easy to use. This space could be better served as a quick access point to Xbox Game Pass, for example. Maybe even a block reserved for suggestions for achievements, or parties with friends that we can attend at the moment.
I think ads always look a little weird when placed in the home UI like that. Often, they’re not even adapted to the games I’ve actually been playing. They really should be featured in the Microsoft Store app, where players are likely to buy a new game or DLC anyway.
But hey, that’s what the Xbox Insider program is for. This is just the first of what will likely be many UI layouts in the run-up to the 2023 update. Fortunately, this implies that the Xbox team will get feedback to further tweak the dashboard until it’s ready for prime time.