XboxOneIt’s been nearly a year since the Xbox One debuted with an anemic feature set compared to its older sibling Xbox360. Whatever cool social and media features the 360 grew to have, the One apparently started without, leaving users wondering why some feature was abandoned or more difficult to access. But with monthly system updates arriving in response to feedback, the Xbox One slowly but steadily improves.

Recently Major Nelson of Xbox Live announced a feature set contained in the November 2014 update (now available) that many gamers clamored for: customizable backgrounds.

It’s classy to have a black dashboard match the black console shell, but gamers want to make the environment their own. In addition to being able to utilize the Media Player to draw upon an external picture source, gamers can also set achievement art as a background image.

Gamers hoping to see most of a background like a PC desktop are still out of luck due to the dashboard’s tiled user interface. However, Major Nelson has linked an official Photoshop document to help creative gamers formulate their backgrounds around the tiles, just like I’ve been doing these past few years. They’re finally catching on!
I would’ve recommended offering a PNG format (which can contain a transparency) because not everyone uses Photoshop. But anyways the official template helps you judge how dark the background will appear because the dashboard contains a translucent black veil.

Xbox One dashboard with a custom background.

Xbox One dashboard with a custom background.

I already started making a template months earlier in some anticipation of this development, but I based my work on early screen captures of the yet-to-be-introduced console dashboard, so some measurements were slightly askew but not far off.

It’s cool to see that Microsoft is motivated by gamer feedback to improve their product; here’s to many more surprises in store for the future of Xbox.