Xbox Series X store interface revealed -- here's your first look

Xbox Series X store has a fresh new look
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The Xbox Series X could have a much prettier storefront than the Xbox One does right now, thanks to a new update called “Mercury.” At present, buying games on the Xbox One can be a confusing experience, thanks to convoluted drop-down menus and icons that vary wildly in size.

The Mercury update will make the store much easier to navigate, thanks to an always-present side menu and much more consistent content sizing. Information comes from a Windows Central report, where senior editor Jez Corden went hands-on with the Mercury experience. 

He posted both screenshots and video in his coverage, showing off an Xbox store that’s prettier and easier to navigate. While current Xbox One consoles will get the Mercury update once it’s ready, Corden reported that the Xbox Series X will use this interface to sell games as well.

The biggest difference between Mercury and the current Xbox One interface is that Mercury uses a side menu that lets users navigate quickly among search, sales, browsing and other ways to explore the store. In the current Xbox store, users have to scroll to the top of the page to adjust options, or head back to access earlier menus. This can slow things down considerably if you don’t find the game you’re looking for right away.

Furthermore, the Mercury app is fully animated, making transitions from one menu to another feel seamless. Currently, when users select an option in the Xbox Store, it simply loads the next screen after fading to black for a moment. All features from the current Xbox Store, such as reviews, trailers, and search parameters are still present, so users won’t lose anything one Mercury launches.

The only pertinent question remaining seems to be whether Mercury will launch for Windows as well. Every game on the Xbox Series X will be available on the PC as well, and Microsoft has put a considerable amount of effort into ensuring parity between its PC and console releases. A Mercury interface on a PC could be a big feather in Microsoft’s cap, particularly since the Microsoft Store on Windows is, at present, a tedious and haphazard experience.

While the Xbox Series X is not ditching its disc drive, good digital storefronts are more important than ever. The PS4 and Xbox One represented a huge shift away from buying physical media, as more and more fans opted to download their games instead. That trends will likely continue into the next generation. A better interface alone won’t win a console war, but whichever system makes it easier to find and buy new games could have a significant advantage over the other.

There’s no word yet on when Mercury will launch, but based on the Windows Central coverage, the app seems just about ready to go. Expect it within the next few months, and be sure to keep your Xbox connected to the Internet to pick up the app once it goes live. While this may not be the exact interface we see on the Xbox Series X, it should be pretty close.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.