Xbox homepage refresh to bring ads to the fore

Mike Wheatley

Microsoft has said it’s planning to roll out a refreshed Xbox homescreen in 2023. But don’t get too excited, for while it’s all about easier access to important system settings and recently played games, the company will also place “recommended”, sponsored and trending content all over the shop.


In a blog post, Xbox Experiences Senior Product Manager Lead Ivy Krislov said that “Team Xbox” is always looking for ways to improve user’s gaming experiences, getting gamers what they want most of all, which is more games.

“We’re focused on making it faster and easier to play the games you love and find your next favorite game,” she said. “We know the Xbox homepage is where our gamers spend a lot of their time and it’s a space that’s very personal.”

Microsoft showed off a preview of the “more personalized home screen experience” and said it will be tested on beta testers within the “alpha skip-ahead” ring over the next few months.

The last major refresh of the Xbox homepage was back in mid-2020, so maybe an update is overdue. That said, most gamers are keenly aware that the word “personalized” is industry-speak for advertisements, and those are going to be a big focus of the update. From the preview, we can see that the new homescreen will put “recommendations”, meaning ads for new games, at the front and center, with various recommended and trending games from Xbox Game Pass being highlighted. There’s also a “sponsored” tile near the top that will presumably show ads of games that are sold to the highest bidder.

Scrolling down, we can also see “curated categories” and yet more personalized recommendations.

No doubt not everyone will be thrilled to see the ads, but there is still time for gamers to make themselves heard. Krislov said in the blog post that the company is planning to launch the “new, better Home experience” sometime in 2023 after receiving user’s input. “Please share our feedback and be patient as we add, remove and change features to optimise the experience,” she said.

The refresh might not be entirely bad. Along with the recommended and sponsored games, users will also see there’s easier access to game settings and “My Games & Apps”, with dedicated tiles on the homescreen. There’s also a new “Jump back in” row that makes it simple to access recently played games in a single click.