Home Gaming The Xbox One’s UI is getting another redesign, and removing Cortana in the process

The Xbox One’s UI is getting another redesign, and removing Cortana in the process

2 min read

I’ve said it before, and I’ll definitely say it again; the Xbox One’s user interface is horrible. It’s especially bad on the original Xbox One, where it’s not just a confusing clutter of boxes and unintuitive menus, but it’s also sluggish and generally unresponsive. Still, it’s a little better than it used to be, but that’s because Microsoft’s redesigned the UI before, and they’re doing it again.

The new experimental UI update is rolling out to insiders, and according to Microsoft it’s being streamlined and tweaked to offer “a faster Home experience. ” It’s still based on blocks and menus, but hopefully it’s a little easier to navigate. Microsoft says the new UI will make accessing Xbox fare like Xbox Game Pass, the Xbox Community, Mixer, and the Microsoft Store “quicker than ever”.

“The Home on Xbox One is the first thing you see when you turn on your Xbox One, and we want to deliver an easy and seamless experience for you to navigate your console. We’ve heard your feedback and have continued to iterate on Home to get you into your gaming experiences faster and keeping more of your content front and center. With today’s update, we’re experimenting with a streamlined user interface.”

Unfortunately, for those who’ve become used to using Cortana and voice-activation to navigate the UI, Microsoft is dropping the digital assistant. Microsoft says this change is because they’re “moving away from on-console experiences to cloud-based assistant experience”.

Once the update has launched players will no longer be able to issue commands through Cortana on their headsets. They will instead have to rely on a second device, using the Xbox Skill for Cortana via the Cortana app on iOS, Android, and Windows. While that’s probably going to make the user interface snappier, it’s going to remove a little of the Xbox One’s accessibility.

It does, however, still seem like users will be able to continue using basic commands (Like Xbox, play etc) via Kinect.

Last Updated: July 25, 2019


  1. HvR

    July 25, 2019 at 08:54

    First thing I disable on Windows is Cortana, if I want to speak to something that does not understand me and is pretty much useless I will send MonsterCheddar a voicenote.


    • Admiral Chief Umbra

      July 25, 2019 at 09:11

      HAH, someone call the ICU for burn victims STAT


    • Admiral Chief Umbra

      July 25, 2019 at 09:11

      You even got a Geoff upvote, majestic!


  2. Pieter Kruger

    July 25, 2019 at 08:54

    ….no wonder Cortana is pissed!


  3. Nick de Bruyne

    July 25, 2019 at 09:19

    I might be in the minority, but I’m just SO glad they are still keeping the basic voice commands in. Cortana is literally useless, it’s just so bad – but I still use the basic voice commands with Kinect a lot just out of convenience. If Kids are done watching TV or I’m carrying some plates out, its just nice to be able to turn off the console and TV with a basic command on my way out.

    What it’s especially useful for right now, which might be sorted with the UI update is that its still a pain in the ass to quickly get to – and launch – an app or game that’s not been used recently and instead of going through 5 different screens or menus, you just launch it by name and voila.

    Happened just yesterday when we went back to Showmax to start watching Westworld Season 2, and by the time I got there my wife was sitting in pins and app screens looking for it, and I just said “Xbox Go To Showmax” and we were done.

    Edit: For the past year or so, my Xbox has just straight up stopped listening for the “Xbox Turn On” command, so I have to start it with the media remote or the controller, but it accepts every other command perfectly. If ANYONE knows how to fix the issue please let me know! I’ve tried a few solutions, but nothing.


    • For the Emperor!

      July 25, 2019 at 09:48

      “still a pain in the ass to quickly get to – and launch – an app or game that’s not been used recently” – yeah, that is quite a bother. Irritates me as well!


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