Xbox One's biggest ever update arrives today, complete with backwards compatibility

xbox one

Starting today, Xbox One owners will be getting the biggest update to the console since it launched two years ago. The 'New Xbox One Experience' is built on Windows 10 and brings a new user interface and a handful of added features. It also kills off a pretty big feature, which we'll touch on shortly.

While the improved UI is great, it's Xbox 360 backwards compatibility which is the killer app here - and something it can now laud over the rival PS4. Over 100 Xbox 360 games will be compatible from launch - you can see the whole list here - and Microsoft promises us that the list will grow "every single month".

"We think this is going to be one of the key reasons why an Xbox 360 owner is going to want to migrate to the Xbox One," Xbox UK Marketing Director at Microsoft Harvey Eagle told techradar.

Tied to the new experience, backwards compatibility works by emulating the 360 software. Just stick in a disk and the Xbox One will boot it up (so long as it's supported) but with the addition of the Xbox One Guide to capture screenshots and recordings.

However, press the menu and view buttons on your controller and you'll be able to bring up the original Xbox 360 guide.

A better home screen

The new Xbox One home screen has been moved around and polished up a bit. That, combined with the fact it's built on the Windows 10 platform, means navigating around the Xbox One dashboard is a better experience.

"We believe that makes it 50% faster to get to the content that you want," said Eagle. "And it's based on feedback we've had over time".

Along the top of the dash you'll now see 'Home', 'Community', 'OneGuide' and 'Store' divided into their own sections. In the Community you can post updates and videos as well as comment on, like and share friends' posts.

Meanwhile, 'Store' now splits up apps, games and media into easier-to-navigate categories.

You'll also see a new guide along the left hand side of the screen, granting faster access to the console's biggest features, including your friend list and the console settings.

What you won't have, however, is gesture control. Microsoft has killed Kinect gestures for the home screen due to lack of interest from consumers. Fair.

Xbox One

One direction

The OneGuide has been given an overhaul with the new update, and will now give you an at-a-glance view of the latest additions to your favourite video apps including YouTube and Amazon Instant Video. Microsoft also revealed to techradar that TV from Sky will be coming to Xbox One in the near future.

The Windows 10 foundation means that developers will be able to make software that easily runs across desktop, devices and the Xbox One console. Eagle told us that Cortana is coming to Xbox One for preview members later this year, but won't get a wide rollout until 2016.

He also emphasised that the new experience was a big part in positioning the Xbox One as foremostly a gaming machine.

"Under Phil Spencer's leadership we've really been fixated at putting the gamer at the heart of everything we do," said Eagle.

"I think this is the greatest lineup in Xbox history, maybe in console history. I think we have a range of exclusive games that the competition cannot match."

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.