Ever since the first reveal of the Xbox One in May, Microsoft has only offered quick glimpses of the game console's dashboard and the design of its user interface. As part of its Gamescom activities this week, Microsoft gave some members of the press a more detailed demo of the Xbox One dashboard.
That's the good news. The bad news is, according to Engadget and Pocket Lint, Microsoft did not allow journalists to take pictures or film the Xbox One dashboard demo, although it did release some new screenshots of the UI, as shown in this article. Pocket Lint indicates that these new screenshots are still not indicative of what the press at Gamescom got to see this week.
On the surface, the Xbox One dashboard looks similar to the one currently used on the Xbox 360, and indeed it also looks much like the Modern UI in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, in keeping with Microsoft's idea of unifying their design principles. However, the reports from the Gamescom demo state that each time an Xbox One player comes in front of the included Kinect sensor, it will automatically load up a personalized home screen just for that player. This is supposed to happen even if that person is at a friend's house in front of his or her Xbox One.
Up to six different profiles can be logged into the Xbox One at the same time, and each profile will have their own save game files, achievements and settings. The Xbox One will allow each person to follow up to 1,000 friends on Xbox Live, versus just 100 on the Xbox 360, but the number of people who can follow you on the Xbox One has no limits. It will be interesting to see which Xbox One owner will be the first to reach the one million follower mark.
Even though Microsoft has now admitted the Kinect doesn't have to be hooked up to the Xbox One for the console to work, the Gamescom demo showed off how the Kinect handles voice commands to the console. For example, people who are playing a game can say, "Xbox, record that" and gameplay video starts recording with the last 30 seconds buffered. Players can also say, "Xbox snap upload" to snap the recording to the side of the screen while continuing to play the game live on the other side.
The Xbox One's IR blaster can be used to control all the other AV hardware in a room. Combined with the Kinect, owners can access their equipment via voice commands. The Gamescom reports claim that this kind of functionally worked well in the demo room and gives us some hope that it will also work as advertised when the Xbox One is sitting in a person's real living room sometime in November.