Xbox One Dashboard redesign will wave goodbye to Cortana voice control

(Image credit: Xbox / Microsoft)

It's had more facelifts than an aging Hollywood star, and now Microsoft is set to take the knife to the Xbox One Dashboard design once again. 

Aiming to deliver a "faster Home experience" according to a new post on the Xbox Wire, it's looking to declutter the console's boot screen, and in doing so it'll also be removing on-console support for Cortana voice control.

It's a move that's raising eyebrows among some in the Xbox community, chiefly those who use voice control as an accessibility feature. 

Rather than being able to plug a headset into the console control pad and chat away to Cortana, you'll instead now need to have the assistant set up as an app on an Android, Windows or iOS device, as Microsoft move away "from on-console experiences to cloud-based assistant experience".

Xbox has had a checkered history with voice control, which was a key component of the original Xbox One vision, via the Kinect camera kit. This latest move being seen as a step backwards by some, especially given Microsoft's excellent work with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

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The other changes are a little less sweeping.

Whereas the current Xbox One interface has a series of category 'Twists' to scroll through with the bumper buttons, these are being ditched in favor of more simple buttons, representing your Game Pass, Mixer, Microsoft Store and Xbox Community areas. You'll no longer need to 'swipe' through screens before hitting the elements you want.

Recently played titles will also be more prominent, in an update that aims to put your games front and center.

The new-look Home rolls out this week, but only to select Xbox Insiders in the Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead beta testing groups. A wider release is expected in the third quarter of the year. 

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.