The latest Xbox Beta update for Windows 10 kills off Xbox Avatars, adds light theme

August 7, 2017

It’s no secret that new Xbox Avatar designs are on the way. Microsoft announced the redesign at E3 a few months ago with a fall release window, and it looks like preparations are beginning. The latest Xbox Beta build (version 31.31) strips out Avatar options entirely, even going as far as not displaying them on profiles. If you’re an avatar user like me, that means friends will just see a regular Gamerpic when they visit your profile.

Xbox beta on the left, Xbox stable on the right

Changing from a Gamerpic to an Xbox Avatar on your profile also just isn’t possible in the current beta – all of the text strings related to it have been removed from the Xbox app’s resources. While we don’t have any information on how Microsoft plans to handle the transition to the new avatar system, it’s hard to believe that this is unrelated to it. Phasing out an older system prior to replacing it isn’t a new idea, after all.

That’s not the only noteworthy change in this update. There’s also a light theme option, but it’s still got a long way to go before completion.

You can see it above, and it’s worth noting that the titlebar is permanently in dark mode – regardless of your setting. The light theme isn’t too easy on the eyes right now, although I might just be too used to the dark mode the app has had since its introduction well over two years ago. Interestingly enough it’s disabled by default regardless of your Windows preference, but you can enable it in the settings section.

A light theme might make its way over to the Xbox One as well. When asked earlier this year, Mike Ybarra mentioned that the team was looking at a lighter overall look for the Xbox UI.

These are both interesting changes, especially since the Xbox One equivalent of RS3 doesn’t seem to be far off. Some other features also seem to have accidentally been posted in the Insider Hub, including the ability to copy all of your games and apps to an external hard drive.

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