May 21, 2022

The Xbox Overhaul

The Xbox is having a glow-up*. The Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass for PC have been rebranded, and the Microsoft store on Xbox is now faster, easier, and safer.

*Yeah, that’s right, we’re millennials and we said “glow-up”.

Xbox has recently been going through a bit of a make-over.

Both the Microsoft Store and the appearance of the Game Pass are being tweaked.

Now, this would make sense considering the imminent launch of the Series X. But it’s still something to note.

Firstly, the storefront. For anyone on the Insiders testing programme, you’ll have seen/had a go of the brand new Microsoft Store. The update rolled out 5th August.

For the rest of us lowlives, here’s what we can look forward to;

Microsoft is promising an overall faster, easier, and safer Store experience for Xbox users. To that end, the new Store is “more than twice as fast as before”. Microsoft has noted how “it launches in under two seconds, and the browse performance is greatly improved”. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve found that the Store took too long to load some things. Or sometimes flat out didn’t work at times.

In regards to being “easier”‘;

“The Microsoft Store [on Xbox] makes it easier than ever to discover what you’re looking for: whether you want to try out a gaming membership like Xbox Game Pass, find a specific title or DLC, or access an app, movie, or TV show. View trailers inline while you search and browse (or turn on autoplay for the most seamless experience); easily see which games your friends are playing, and get information about discounts and offers at a glance.

Our goal is to provide an inclusive and intuitive experience for everyone. We’re committed to making it easier than ever to find your next favourite game, app, movie, or TV show. This starts with a fully redesigned navigation system; allowing you to jump between shopping experiences in a snap or deep dive into something specific”.

One of many non-fanboy critiques over the Xbox has been the UI of the recent Xbox’s. And there is some truth to these claims.

And finally for the Store, Microsoft is making it safer by;

“…working hard to make sure that the Microsoft Store [on Xbox] is the best place for families to shop for gaming and entertainment. To help parents ensure that their children are interacting with appropriate content, customers must be signed in to their Xbox account before browsing. Being signed in also helps you have a more personalized experience – you’ll see content that is more relevant for you”.

These are only the brief outlines of what Microsoft is implementing, of course. For a more in-depth look, check out the Xbox blog post. There’s no word yet on when non-Insiders will have this new Store update. However, I would expect it sometime before the Series X launches.

As for Xbox’s trump card, the Game Pass is/has received an overhaul as well. Many of you will notice how, in a recent update, games in your library will now display whether a downloaded game is from the Game Pass or with Games With Gold.

And whilst that same, great value for money still stands, Microsoft has updated things a little bit. Whereas before we would refer to the service as the “Xbox Game Pass” or “Xbox Game Pass for PC”, official branding now has the “Xbox” removed.

Check it out;

As you’ll notice from the above two embedded tweets, both the console and PC Game Pass Twitter accounts have updated profile pictures. The console edition now will be “Game Pass” whilst the PC is going by “Game Pass for PC” [albeit, both still utilise the Xbox “X” logo]. It’s not a major move, but it does show that Microsoft recognises one glaringly obvious flaw in the Xbox Game Pass service; it works on both Xbox and PC, and to have the “Xbox” tag on the PC seems out of place.

[We won’t get into the redundancy over having “For PC” associated with the definitely PC-based account still in place]


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