xbox offers wrong pin at home skype xbox assist

An Xbox Series X controller rests against an Xbox Series X on a table.

Photo: Alex Van Aken (Shutterstock)

We did it for the To change. We did it for the PlayStation 5. It’s only fitting that we do this for Xbox as well. Earlier this month, Sony announcement this would purge the PS5’s barely-used Accolades feature, which allowed you to award rewards to others in multiplayer games. This prompted a thought exercise: what other features could be removed from popular gaming platforms without much fanfare?

The Xbox user interface is quite polished, having been perfected for about a decade. (Xbox Series X/S uses the same user interface as Xbox One; it’s universal across console generations.) Still, there’s always room to cut. Here are the features Microsoft could purge from Xbox without causing an uproar.


Pin to home

Xbox's Parties feature displays Forza, Gears 5, and other games.

While the Pin to Home feature is indeed questionable, it’s not an indictment of the bands, which are amazing and should absolutely stick around forever.
Screenshot: Microsoft

You can pin any game to Xbox permanently: just hover over its icon, hit the hamburger button, and select “add to home”. There might be a use case that I’m overlooking, but the logic behind it has always failed me. If you play a game often enough that it’s permanently pinned to your home screen, it’s probably already on your home screen as one of your most-played games. (The top row of the Xbox UI shows your six most recently used apps. Plus, your game library is literally there.)

Gaming Clubs

Every Xbox game has a so-called Game Club, which can be accessed by bringing up the game’s “game card” (in the menu that appears after pressing the hamburger button), then clicking the “official club” icon. Here you can see information related to the game in particular, from achievement tracklists to “news” stories (which you can always get from your favorite gaming news site). In the Progress tab, you’ll also find a minute-by-minute count of how much time you’ve spent on this game, which is great! So it’s not that Game Hubs is entirely useless, in itself. It’s more that they unnecessarily obfuscate the information you actually want, an aspect that’s highlighted given how easily it’s accessible on competing platforms, like the PlayStation and Switch.

Skype

We’re well into the age of Zoom, but the ubiquitous specter of a video chat app from five Internet eras ago hasn’t gone anywhere. Yes, Skype is a lot on Xbox. My only question here is…uh, why? It’s partly intended as an alternative to voice chat, I suppose, but just about every chat option is better, including Microsoft’s, or newly added Discord integration (great for crossplay).

Break reminders

Of course, in the console settings, under the Preferences menu, you can set up automatic break reminders in half-hour increments. (These notifications only appear when you’re playing a game, but the clock starts counting the second you turn on your Xbox.) But hey, nobody wants their Xbox to act like their parents. Plus, free time is more valuable than ever these days. If you can reasonably hang on for a few hours to play games consecutively, more power to you.

The Events tab

By default, the main Xbox screen includes a line item for events, which gives you a quick update on whether or not any live games are holding active events. Currently, my Events tab displays event details for Marvel’s Avengers, Ark: Survival Evolvedand Destiny 2—two of which I’ve never played on Xbox. (My avengers the account is on PlayStation; I never touched Ark.) So it’s clearly not always relevant. But also, if you are a regular player of service games, you will probably learn about what is happening through official social networks, news sources or the game.

Xbox Support

Xbox Assist is an integrated encyclopedia of FAQs, tips, and other system-level guides. For example, if you open the Troubleshooters menu, you’ll see a walkthrough that tells you how to start a game you’re having trouble starting, with an option to check the status of Xbox Online Services. But you can’t keep these guides open at the same time as the part of Xbox you’re having trouble with, which means you either have to memorize the tips or juggle apps. Plus, we all know the one place people go to find easy answers: Google. It’s much easier to have all this information at your fingertips from Xbox Support Page in a web browser.

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