Project Scorpio, New Layered Xbox UI Teased By Microsoft: What Might It Mean For Games?

The Xbox Scorpio will feature Xbox 360 Backward Compatibility Microsoft

Project Scorpio is likely to be one of the hottest tech items this fall, but Xbox isn’t the only branch of Microsoft that’s cooking up awesome stuff for the fourth quarter. The Build Conference earlier this week debuted a new unified concept called Fluent Design. While it’ll be leveraged in different ways, it’s confirmed for use on console and PC.

Most of the footage shown in the teaser below doesn’t have much relevance to Xbox specifically, but we’re certainly able to see a sample of the design aesthetic Microsoft is striving for. There’s an emphasis on speed and the relationship between items. Stacked windows have a frosted glass effect that never truly hides what you’re working on, contacts are placed front and center and key buttons light up with each interaction. These elements are equal parts of the five building blocks behind the next Windows UI: light, depth, motion, material and scale.

As for what those words mean for the future of Xbox or Scorpio, one need look no further than the example that’s shown about 30 seconds in. Mid-gameplay while playing Forza Horizon 3, the player is able to open menus and select from recently used apps without pausing. That’s an example of graphical motion at its best. Ironically or not, leaks from February pointed to UI designers implementing NEON motion features on Scorpio. NEON, of course, is the codename for the entire five-pillar visual initiative showcased here.  

Microsoft Fluent UI
This menu opens mid-gameplay, and it's a great example of how Xbox can potentially benefit from Microsoft's Fluent Design UI coming this September. Photo: Microsoft/YouTube

Since Microsoft seems to be placing people and stats in easier to find places, imagine what that might mean when it comes to connecting with friends or comparing achievements on Xbox Live? Some of the pictured environments appear perfectly suited for VR too. HoloLens or Oculus support anyone?

Read: Xbox Exec Says Scorpio Is So Powerful It Won’t Need Boost Mode

This development may not confirm much about how these features will work on Xbox, but we do know that changes to the interface are definitely coming. All the way back to the dreaded Windows 8 era, the Xbox One interface has remained in lockstep with its maker’s latest software designs. With this Windows 10 UI planned for September and Scorpio set to arrive in the fall, the synergy is simply too perfect to ignore. Microsoft is unveiling new hardware, and software tweaks are probably coming alongside it.

As loyal Xbox followers will know, however, this likely refresh wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft has attempted to revitalize Xbox design. In fact, new tweaks to menus and accessibility have basically been coming out on a yearly basis. While 2016 focused on getting everything organized, 2017 has been all about speed and optimization. Will 2018 highlight visual flair? That seems plausible to us.

Microsoft promises to talk more about Project Scorpio during its E3 briefing on June 10.

How might these Windows 10 features make Xbox One better? Should the Scorpio UI have more effects to match its high specs? Tell us in the comments section!

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