A select core of preview testers have started receiving a beta version of Microsoft's latest update for the Xbox One. The "New Xbox One Experience," due to be released in November, brings a slimmed down version of Windows 10 to the console.
One of the major changes demonstrated in a video on the Xbox YouTube channel is a redesigned app-snapping experience. App-snapping lets players run a second app -- such as Skype -- side-by-side with a game or app. This is not a new feature, but snapped apps have been moved to appear on the left rather than the right.
Richard Irving from the Xbox engineering team explained that snapping to the left is meant to be easier for quick glances during gameplay, based on user testing and feedback. "It's just easier for the eyes to make that sort of adjustment," he said.
App snapping is now a part of the guide, a new feature that is an area of focus for beta tester feedback. "You probably already use the guide on Xbox 360, and this is the way to think about it on Xbox One," said Irving. Other than app snapping, the guide will bring fast access to friends, recent players, parties, messages and settings.
The initial release will also focus on gaining feedback about the new home screen, which has been demonstrated. The new screen places new games front and center, displaying large images of the most recent game for easy access. The feedback data collected will be used to improve the update before the public release. "This is a very big release for us driven by a lot of feedback," said Irving.
The lucky few that have received access to the beta may not want to install just yet unless they are absolutely prepared for potential consequences. Last week, it emerged that some Xbox One games, like "Destiny: The Taken King" and "Skylanders," will not work on the current preview software. The update is a major overhaul of the system software, so problems are to be expected. The new update runs on "One Core," a version of Windows 10 stripped down and modified for use on the Xbox One, and represents a major change from the current system software.