Xbox One Receiving Major UI Overhaul, Including Cortana

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Microsoft on Monday night unveiled a brand-new Xbox One experience, which will be coming to consoles sometime later this year. It is pretty safe to assume it will be at the same time as the backwards compatibility update. 

This will be the first major update to the UI in a long time. Some of the big things coming include quicker in game menu options and Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Siri, which will now work from your Xbox One. 

Each menu seems to have completely changed, and it seems that the loading times to access each menu is far quicker than it was before. You can now access a game hub, or see if an update has been pushed for your game. You can see which friends have played it, and you can also see your recent clips, all from the same place.

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When you double click the Xbox button on your controller, a panel will slide in from the left side. It will give you options to see your online friends, your notifications, start an Xbox Party, or change your settings on the fly. It will give you far more options with easier access than the current snap setup. You can access these quick options from the home screen, but you can also do this in any game you're playing. It no longer shrinks your screen, the menu will slide in over whatever you are doing at the time.

Back on the main home screen, as you scroll down from the main image you can see all your recently-played games and apps. Your Pins will be further down in a new "Collection" tab/

In the new Xbox One UI, Microsoft has merged everything about your friends and what's trending on Xbox Live into a single "Community" tab, which shows you what your friends are playing, popular games right now and a global leaderboard for achievements.

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The most important change to the system is the addition of Cortana. Now, if you say "Hey Cortana," you have access to more commands. Of course you can still issue all of the typical voice commands like "Xbox record that," but you can also do much more, like see if people are online, and invite those people to Xbox Parties.

Cortana understands complex commands, like if you only want to record the last minute or two of gameplay and immediately share it to your activity feed. Currently, those are all separate steps on Xbox One —they're not hard to do, but they take you out of the gaming experience. Here, you can issue voice commands with Cortana without ever touching a button. However, if you do not have a Kinect, you will not be able to use Cortana. 

More information on this will come out closer to the time of launch, but look forward to some impressive stuff hitting your Xbox One soon.