Xbox Game Pass is the focus of next year's Xbox Series X UI refresh

Four video game characters in a row, including Halo's Master Chief and Doom's Doomslayer
(Image credit: Microsoft)

There's a brand new Xbox Series X|S home menu layout in development, and it puts Xbox Game Pass at the forefront.

Available now to Xbox Insiders on the Alpha Ring, the new Xbox Series X|S home menu layout prominently features Xbox Game Pass at its core. The layout should roll out to all Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners in 2023, but if you'd like to give it a spin early, consider joining the Xbox Insider program.

Demonstrated by The Verge's Tom Warren in a short video (below), Xbox Game Pass's 'Recently added' tab is now sat right below your last used apps at the top of the home menu. That means you won't have to open the Xbox Game Pass app to see what's been added to the service.

A good thing for Game Pass?

I'm an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, and while I love the service, I'm not really a fan of how this new UI layout is a constant, unsubtle reminder that the service exists. 

In the video, Warren mentions that the layout feels like a giant Xbox Game Pass ad, and I couldn't agree more. Xbox Game Pass is a good enough service that its value has spread easily by word of mouth, so perhaps it doesn't need to be so aggressive in its marketing.

It also runs the risk of alienating non-subscribers. Whether it's a question of affordability or if you simply don't want another subscription on your monthly bill, not every Xbox owner makes use of the Xbox Game Pass ecosystem.

Hopefully, Microsoft reconsiders the layout to be a little less in-your-face, or alternatively, remains unintrusive for those not subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. While I remain a fan of the service and have gotten much use out of its ever-growing library and Xbox Cloud Gaming, it's certainly not something everyone is going to want to be advertised to them on a constant basis.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.