Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Platform Engineering, discusses the next Xbox update releasing to Alpha Ring Insiders starting today. Watch the video and read his comments about the update below:

It’s an exciting day at Team Xbox as Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring will get a first look at the latest Xbox update. This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever. We’ve heard feedback from our fans that they want the ability to customize Home the way they want. This new experience on Xbox One gives gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming this fall. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu. Here’s a detailed look at some of the new features that will arrive for Xbox Insiders starting today and continuing throughout the next few months:

Customize Your Home: The first thing Insiders will notice is the new Home on Xbox One. This update is all about personalization; we’re putting the control in your hands, so that you can decide what to see when you turn on your console. The new look and feel is part of a design system called Microsoft Fluent Design; the look, feel, and movement of the dashboard has been updated to focus on speed, customization and expression—for you. Now, customize your Home screen to be uniquely yours, and view all the things you love at-a-glance. Have a favorite game or friend? Add them to Home!  Select one, press the Menu button on your controller, and select “Add to Home.”  This now creates an entire block of content that can be moved up or down—or removed altogether, should your interests or habits change. These blocks will evolve over time based on the things you like to do. For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title. We’ll be adding additional types of content blocks in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. The team is always pushing to make the Xbox experience faster and faster. In this release, we’ve eliminated the wait between Home, Social, and My Games and Apps by consolidating them into one dashboard experience. No more splash screens means you get to fun even faster.

Effortless Guide Navigation: With this update, it’s faster than ever to switch between tabs in the guide so you can join friends, broadcast, switch between apps, and get back Home. New tab flyouts make it easier to see more content quickly, too. The new Guide layout quickly gets you to the stuff you care about, so you never miss a moment. It’s now even easier to switch between apps or get back to Home, and the new layout will enable you to quickly jump to different tabs using the left thumbstick, d-pad, or bumpers on your controller. Sign-in, Achievements, multiplayer (including parties, Looking for Group, and tournaments), People, Home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures, and a new action center (including settings) each have their own tab in the new Guide.

A More Immersive Community: Staying connected with Friends and Clubs is now better than ever. The community section has an entirely new Activity Feed layout, showing more content at-a-glance.  When looking at feed items in detail, they are presented in an immersive, full-screen view—sharing the experience just as it was captured.  Reading comments is now much easier since the comment window can be expanded to fill the screen. You’ll now be able to skim the feed quickly or lean back on the couch and walk through it in detail – it’s entirely up to you. This makes it easier than ever to stay current with the games and friends you care about. Game Hubs, Profiles, and Clubs are also refreshed to make them more dynamic and engaging than ever before.  We’re also making Improvements to Club discovery, to quickly display which Clubs you’re already a part of, and easily discover new Clubs to join.  There will also be new titles that will be coming to Arena over the next few months, soon offering even more options for tournaments powered by Xbox Live.

Game Bar Gets Even Better: On Windows 10, we’re making it easier than ever to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis by putting a switch directly in the Game bar. Mixer broadcasting with the Game bar will now give you more choices on the audio you broadcast; a new settings option will let you choose to broadcast game-only audio, or system-wide audio.  We’ve also added a new Xbox Live Network Troubleshooting option to the Settings menu in Windows 10, which will help you track down connectivity issues and optimize your online multiplayer experience.

This is just the beginning of some major updates arriving for Xbox gamers later this year.  We’ll be introducing plenty of new features in the coming months across Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Mixer, and mobile devices designed to make your gaming experiences all about you. As always, we owe some big thanks for all the fan feedback we receive and review from gamers everywhere, as well as to the invaluable members of our Xbox Insider Program for all the feedback they provide regularly. We’ll be sharing more when the update releases to more fans later this year. The team has worked hard, and we hope you enjoy these latest updates to your Xbox One experience! And of course, don’t forget to tell us what you think.

Last month, we released several fan-inspired feature updates to the community. This month, we are starting to roll out even more features including a new Party overlay to help you see who’s speaking in your group, more fan-requested improvements to Looking for Group on Xbox Live and the Activity Feed, and later this month Killer Instinct tournaments powered by Arena on Xbox Live.

Since we announced Arena at E3 2016, and first launched it to Xbox Insiders this past fall, the team has been hard at work building and refining Arena to make esports available for gamers on Xbox Live, regardless of their skill-level. Huge thank you to Xbox fans for sharing your thoughts on the feature – your feedback has had a direct impact helping us evolve the Arena experience, and will help ensure the feature is great when it rolls out broadly. Over the next month, we will open up World of Tanks tournaments on Arena to more Insiders, and we’re excited to launch Killer Instinct tournaments, including the ability for users to create their own tournaments in their Clubs. Here is a little more about the great new features coming to Arena, as well a look at other features coming to Xbox Insiders in the coming weeks.

Arena on Xbox Live

In addition to World of Tanks on Arena in partnership with ESL, later this month Killer Instinct on Arena is back for select Xbox Insiders! You can discover, register, and play in both official and user-generated tournaments in Clubs across Xbox One and Windows 10. Get notifications when your match is ready, enjoy automatic results reporting, and show off the results on your Activity Feed when you’re done.

Want to create your own Killer Instinct tournament? Starting this month, Club owners and administrators can create and host tournaments in their Clubs. Download the Xbox app (beta) on your Windows 10 PC, go to your Club and click on the “Tournaments” tab then select “Create tournament.” Fill out your tournament info and publish your event. Other members of that Club, or guests if they are allowed, on either PC or Xbox One can then discover, join, and play in your tournament.

As Arena continues to grow, be on the lookout for more tournaments with games like Halo Wars 2 and Smite, as well as gamer-created tournaments for World of Tanks. And watch for more details about our first public Arena-powered prized tournament: The Killer Instinct Battle for New York, where eight top Killer Instinct players will win a trip to compete for over $10k in cash and prizes in our New York Microsoft Store studio. We’re really excited to bring the excitement of competitive gaming to the community on Xbox One and Windows 10 – it’s never been easier to compete on Xbox Live.

Party Overlay

We’ve recently shipped several multitasking features, including the Achievement tracker, to improve your gaming experience. With this update, we are adding a new overlay that will tell you who’s speaking in your Party, without having to open the Guide. When you are in a Party, go to the Guide to enable the overlay. Just like the Achievement tracker, you can choose where on the screen you want to place the overlay and how transparent it will be. The window will show the Gamertag of the player whenever they speak, and when no one is talking, the window will be invisible. This is particularly useful for Looking for Group and other scenarios where you might not know all the members of your Party.

Fan-Requested Feature Updates

Building on the update we shipped last month, we are continuing to improve features based on input from the community, which you can read about below:

  • Share your Looking for Group post on the Activity Feed or through a message
  • Unfollow a Club or Game Hub directly from your Activity Feed
  • Your profile will display your Arena tournament history and upcoming tournaments.
  • For Beam and Twitch broadcasts, you will now have an option in the Guide for your Kinect to locate you automatically.
  • Captive Portal support for wireless internet is coming to Xbox One, which allows for Wi-Fi authentication through a browser. Great for colleges, hotels, or public Wi-Fi locations.
  • Filter posts on your Activity Feed on the Xbox app for iOS and Android
  • On the Xbox app for Windows 10, we’re adding the option to select the audio input and output sources for Party chat.

As mentioned earlier, these updates will start to roll out today and in the coming weeks. And as always, keep letting us know what you think about our features at Xbox Feedback. Your input is invaluable as we continue to evolve the Xbox experience. Thank you!