The Xbox One will finally see the New Xbox Experience launch tomorrow to the general public. This dashboard redesign will bring with it faster speeds, backwards compatibility and a, hopefully, better sense of organization.
Looking back, the Xbox has absolutely changed over the years when its come to the dashboard. The menus have gone from simple to complex and clunky. Occasionally, they’ve even been well thought out.
As we near the next iteration of the Xbox One’s dashboard, let’s take a look at how far we’ve come.
The Original Xbox – 2001
The first Xbox’s dashboard never really changed all that much. It introduced the Xbox LIVE tab, let gamers user it as a CD player (those were the days) and offered sub menus to manage game memory and settings.
It boasted iconic sounds and that classic green look, but it was a pretty barren experience otherwise.
The Xbox 360 Blades – 2005 through 2008
If you ask most Xbox 360 fans, they’ll point to the original Blades dashboard as being one of their favorites. Sure, it screamed “Early 2000s” in its design, but it actually boasted a lot of information in a really easy to understand space.
The swooshing of the blades as you switched between Xbox Live, Games, Media and System (Marketplace wasn’t added until later) is something a lot of us can still hear in our brains to this very day. This dashboard also introduced Achievements and interesting gamer profiles, something the Xbox brand probably doesn’t get enough recognition for today.
The best part about this dashboard, though, was the introduction of the Xbox Button menu. This let you immediately open a smaller menu for fast navigation while playing games. You could change the song you were listening to, access your friends list or quickly hop to specific menus without breaking gameplay. This was a game changer back in 2005, and it was pretty awesome stuff.
The Xbox 360 NXE – 2008 through 2011
And here’s where we start the bad stuff. The NXE (called the New Xbox Experience, much like what we’re getting tomorrow) introduced Avatars and really crazy dashboard themes. Its theme was based on the Zune and Windows Media Center, and the Guide button was now a bit more robust.
The dashboard allowed for disc installation, too.
Fans hated it because it simply didn’t display enough information at once, often wasting screen space. This dashboard only made it three years before being replaced. It was updated in 2010 to include Kinect support, though that update wasn’t a complete overhaul.
The Xbox 360 Metro Design – 2011 through Today
What we have on the Xbox 360 now was introduced in 2011, back when Windows Metro was a thing. Microsoft went for a clean and modern approach, and this is probably closest to what we see on the Xbox One currently.
The dashboard placed a huge emphasis on applications like Netflix, Microsoft’s own video service, the marketplace and, yes, ads. This dashboard had tons of ads. Welcome to the future, friends. At least it looks nice.
This dashboard made use of the Kinect, too. That fact played a large role in its big design scheme.
The Current Xbox One Dashboard – 2013 through 2015
The Xbox One’s current dashboard is a lot like what users see with Windows 8’s start menu. It’s a pile of pins and applications in square design over several swipes of information. Quite honestly, it’s not very good.
This interface has undergone constant small tweaks since its introduction, including stuff like a battery life indicator and a better snapping system. The UI made way for some unique features, but what it boasts in additions and loses in speed.
The Xbox One’s current dash is slow, and that’s a big reason why Microsoft is dropping the New Xbox One Experience.
The New Xbox One Experience – 2015 and beyond
Finally, we have the dashboard Xbox One users will see tomorrow. This new update brings Xbox 360 backwards compatibility, a redesigned interface and, supposedly, a lot more in terms of menu speed. Thank heavens for that.
Players will see a new notification center, better social features, the removal of Kinect gestures, enhanced voice commands and Game Hubs. The New Xbox One Experience is absolutely based on Windows 10, and it looks like the best iteration we’ve seen in a while.
So, that’s that. Which dashboard was your favorite?