In context: Microsoft's next-gen Xbox Series X and S consoles are just around the corner now. When they launch in a few shorts weeks, thousands of gamers will be entering the new Xbox ecosystem. There will be a totally new UI to get used to and a host of new features to experience, so there will probably be a bit of a learning curve.
To help you prepare for the next generation of gaming, Microsoft has released a 14-minute video walking you through the entire Xbox Series X (or S) experience. The video hosts, Malik Prince from the Xbox community team and product engineer Harrison Hoffman, kick things off by explaining the company's design goals with the new Xbox UI.
According to Hoffman, the idea was to create a more straightforward and accessible UI for new customers while ensuring it remains powerful enough to satisfy "loyal Xbox gamers" and "upgraders."
Whether or not the UI accomplishes the latter goal remains to be seen, but it certainly hits the mark for the former: the new Xbox interface is cleaner and seemingly easier to navigate than many of its predecessors. The top row in the dashboard looks like a list of recently-played games as well as a few shortcuts to useful services, like the Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass.
Below that, you'll see banners that show off new games and experiences you might be interested in trying, such as an open beta or a Game Pass title Microsoft thinks you might like. Over on the left, you'll see a single shortcut that will take you directly to your library of "games & apps." It's unclear how customizable this home screen will be (if at all).
Hoffman and Prince then show one of the Xbox Series X's core features in action: Quick Resume. As the name suggests, this tool lets you swiftly boot into a game that you'd loaded up previously, even if you've since hopped into Netflix or launched an entirely different title.
For example, you could finish up a tense firefight in Gears of War 5 and then swap over to Cyberpunk 2077 for a bit of open-world fun. Once you tire of that, you can swing back into Gears 5 and pick up right where you left off.
The hosts then move on to actual gameplay to give viewers a glimpse of the Xbox Series X's raw graphical power. They show Gears 5 running at 4K and 60 FPS while pointing out the enhanced textures and the game's ability to reach 120 FPS in competitive multiplayer modes.
Next up, we get a look at the "Guide," a new screen that you access by pressing the Series X controller's home button. The Guide displays over the top of any game or app you happen to be running and has buttons for your friends list, your notifications, Quick Resume games, the Microsoft Store, dnd more.
In short, it's a one-stop-shop for everything Xbox that won't get in the way of your gaming any more than necessary.
Another feature you access exclusively through your controller is the Xbox Series X and S's new "Share" button. Tapping the button results in a quick screenshot, whereas holding it down lets you record a gameplay clip without navigating through clunky menus.
However, there's a bit of a catch here. Any screenshots you take or clips you record will be uploaded to Xbox Live, but you need the redesigned Xbox mobile app to actually share them.
The app is also required to set up your console on day one, so if you're going with the Green Team this console generation, it might be worth giving it a download sooner rather than later. Naturally, it's available on both iOS and Android at no cost, and it has a few other nifty features of note, such as Remote Play.
Hoffman and Prince spend the rest of the video showing off the Xbox's new game library as well as the Game Pass and Microsoft Store interfaces. There's nothing notable to mention there: they're functional, clean, and seem pretty easy to navigate, even with a controller.
If Microsoft's latest walkthrough has sold you on the Xbox Series X or S experience, the consoles are theoretically available for pre-order right now at $500 and $400, respectively.
We say "theoretically" because both consoles are out of stock at just about every retailer as of writing, so it might be tricky to snag one. Still, if you get lucky, it seems like you'll have a pretty great experience ahead of you -- let's hope the first set of customer reviews reinforce that assumption.