It’s been almost two years since Microsoft’s next generation console was launched to negative backlash from critics and fans alike. The Xbox One’s audience leveled criticisms that, true or not, became the word-of-mouth reality for the platform, which found itself in a deep hole compared to its rival, Sony’s Playstation 4. Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox team at Microsoft, has admitted it’s unlikely they’ll catch up to the PS4. Given that Sony has a lead of 10 million units sold, and that there are already signs that this generation is coming to a close, we might be right.
However, Spencer has made it clear he’s motivated by the chance to satisfy the audience that he does have, not by competing with the PS4 – and it’s going to be a big Fall/Winter season for the Xbox One. With huge titles coming down the pipe and an update that will completely revamp the Xbox One’s interface, Microsoft may yet deliver on the promises it made back in 2013.
The update, dubbed the “New Xbox One Experience,” comes free to all Xbox One owners on November 12th, 2015, as Spencer announced during a live stream Monday (as reported by Polygon). Among the update’s changes are: a new interface; Windows 10 compatibility; and backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games.
The absence of this last feature was a major complaint from Microsoft gamers back in November 2013. Some Xbox One owners have been enjoying a select group of preview 360 titles since September, but in November all Xbox One owners will receive the update that will give them access to over 100 Xbox 360 games – including classics such as the Gears of War and Mass Effect series.
The New Xbox One Experience comes at a time when the console is picking up steam. Halo 5: Guardians hit stores today (at the time of writing this), Star Wars Battlefront and Fallout 4 will arrive in November, and many are wondering how things would’ve been if all this had happened a year or two ago. With the updated interface, backwards compatibility, as well as the upcoming flagship titles, the Xbox One may have had a better shot against the PS4… If the update is what it’s touted to be, that is.
For those who already own an Xbox One, it should be a breath of fresh air. Backwards compatibility and the possibilities opened up by Windows 10 should be a game changer. And for those who’ve been waiting on the fence for a reason to buy an Xbox One, they may be able to hop in and experience the new interface, new and classic titles, and none of the frustrations suffered by Xbox One owners for the last two years.
We’ll have to wait and see if the upcoming New Xbox One Experience ushers in a new age for Microsoft’s audience. The war against Sony, at least for the eighth generation, is already lost, but the war for Microsoft to maintain its fanbase goes on.
The “New Xbox One Experience” debuts on November 12th, 2015.