Our most recent look at what to expect when booting up the Xbox Series X in November comes via the new Microsoft Store for Xbox update announced today on the Xbox blog. It will arrive this week for Xbox Insiders and roll out for a full release this fall.
Here's a look at the new Microsoft Store for Xbox interface and how to join the Xbox Insiders program if you want to check it out for yourself.
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Speed and navigation
The biggest highlight for the update is probably the speed of the interface versus previous iterations. Boot up time is reportedly down to below two seconds and the overall smoothness of transitions, animations and page loads are greatly reduced as well.
An overall reorganization of the store was also a priority, helping to surface the content that users really want to see when they hit the store, like deals or Game Pass titles. There is also a focus on games or other content based on your activity on Xbox.
Skimming the top level of navigation should be considerably faster now, but drilling down into specific content will also offer you a much greater level of detail if that's what you are interested in seeing.
Selecting a specific category will take you into a more robust gallery view that allows you to quickly scroll through something like "Best rated games" or "Top free games" and see everything at a glance with the trailer for the game eventually playing if you stay hovering on it. On that subject, there are also now easy settings options to indicate whether you want video and/or audio to automatically play in the store.
Viewing games will show you everything you could want to know about a title, including trailers, screenshots, a description, features and more. If you are considering purchasing a game, it will let you know if it is available via Game Pass and games that feature a variety of editions, like Forza Horizon 4, will offer a clear breakdown of what comes with each edition.
Shopping cart and wish list
Two features being brought much more front and center in the new version of the Microsoft Store for Xbox are the shopping cart and the wishlist, which feature prominently on the details page and a single click on a game page will add it to your wishlist or your shopping cart.
Both are also available in the top-level navigation pane on the left side of the screen, making it dead simple to purchase those games. If you place a game in your wishlist and don't make a purchase, you will be automatically notified if that game ever goes on sale.
Recently viewed is another new section here that will let you quickly scroll back through other games that you've checked out.
You will now have to sign in to your account in order to access the Microsoft Store for Xbox. Currently, you are able to view the store anonymously which was an easy workaround for those with content restrictions.
Ratings will now display before the trailer for any game is played on screen and it is also listed on the details page for each title.
In keeping with this greater attention to ratings, filters will now be applied much more consistently across the store with nothing that exceeds the set content filter level for a given user. That stands regardless of whether multiple users are signed in.
If you want to see the new Microsoft Store for Xbox in action, you can check out the latest Xbox Video Podcast below that digs into the forthcoming update. It includes a live walkthrough covering the new look and features starting at 22 minutes and 16 seconds into the episode.
How to become an Xbox Insider
Want to get in on the new Microsoft Store for Xbox yourself? Joining the Xbox Insiders program is quick and easy.
Joining the Xbox Insider Program on Windows 10:
- Navigate to https://insider.xbox.com/.
- Click the "Join Now" button
- Download and install the Xbox Insider Hub app
- Click "Join"
- Tap "Accept" to agree to the terms and conditions
- That's it, you're in, just
Joining the Xbox Insider Program on your Xbox One:
- Go to My Games and Apps on your Xbox One
- Select "Updates"
- Select the Xbox Preview Dashboard
- Once it changes to Xbox Insider Hub select it to access the program
- From here you can opt-in or out of previews for games, apps and system updates like the Microsoft Store for Xbox
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.