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First major Xbox One dashboard overhaul coming this year with new design and Cortana

Microsoft's Xbox 360 dashboard underwent several major revisions during its lifetime, and now the Xbox One's dashboard will soon get its first big overhaul, bringing a new design as well as the company's Cortana digital assistant.

As revealed during a live video broadcast following Microsoft's E3 press conference and later posted to the official Xbox Wire website, the most noticeable aspect of the new dashboard is its design, which moves away from the current tile-focused layout. With the new look, Microsoft is providing more information on recently played games, such as friends who play the titles, game clips and updates provided by developers. The activity feed has also been placed more prominently in the dashboard, and a new "trending" section with live updates has been added.

Another major addition to the system is the inclusion of a quick-menu overlay on the left side of the screen, which provides quick access to social features such as friends, parties, messages and notifications as well as major system settings, such as chat and game volume. The menu is reminiscent of the guide found on the Xbox 360 and is accessed by double tapping the Xbox button on a controller, replacing the current snap prompt.

In addition to the design overhaul, Microsoft is bringing Cortana, the digital assistant currently found on its Windows operating systems, to the Xbox One. With the assistant, gamers can speak to their consoles to add friends to a party or record and share gameplay clips, among other actions, using natural language instead of just voice commands.

Richard Irving, a group program manager with Microsoft's Xbox engineering team, said Windows 10 is the underlying architecture that makes the update possible, allowing quicker multitasking.

"In the case of the console, [Windows 10 is] what's enabling these great updates for fast access to your friends and your parties and some of the other enhancements you're seeing in this update," he said.

Notably, the new interface appears to move away from video content, one of the original selling points Microsoft championed when it announced the Xbox One. While the functionality isn't going away, Microsoft is pushing for more game-focused social features.

A specific release date for the new dashboard wasn't announced, though Microsoft said it will release "this fall" and Irving said the company will launch the update "this holiday."

Source: Xbox Wire

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