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Xbox Makes A Small Change With Big Consequences

Video games require more skills than you might think. When you're playing a game like Halo, for example, you make use of hand-eye coordination to both input commands and react to what's happening on the screen. Muscle memory also comes into play, in that you usually aren't telling yourself to press X to reload, or reminding yourself that right trigger shoots. You're just doing it. When developers make small changes however, those tweaks can mess with that muscle memory and lead to a really frustrating outcome.


Though, as Microsoft has proven, this isn't just an issue in games. With one slight alteration to the Xbox UI, the company has left tons of Xbox gamers in a state of utter confusion.

Sometime in the recent past, Microsoft changed the look of the Xbox dashboard's pop-up menu by adding an item to the bottom of it. Where "Quit" once sat, reliably giving players a way to exit their current game or app, there is now an option called "Xbox Assist." When players choose this option, it opens a sort of "help" app on Xbox consoles, presuming gamers indeed want some kind of assistance. As many on Reddit have shared, however, what they're actually trying to do is choose "Quit." The muscle memory of where that option used to be is tripping them up.


"Get this to the front page, this is incredibly annoying," wrote one user. "Absolutely agree, whoever thought of that should be put in a special circle of hell for terrible UX designers," replied another. The entire rest of the thread, which received thousands of upvotes, is full of players who believe the change is an absolute travesty. Some are trading war stories with one another about how many times they've managed to open the Xbox Assist app. Others are practically begging Microsoft to roll back the update and restore the menu to its former glory.

As press time, it doesn't appear anyone from Microsoft has commented on the thread. At last check, Xbox Assist is still present at the bottom of the menu, undoubtedly baffling players who are used to pressing "menu button," "right trigger," and then "a" to close a game or app. If nothing else, Microsoft's snafu shows just how important muscle memory is when moving around a user interface, and how one small shift can lead to unintended consequences. Perhaps Microsoft will step in and fix this. If not, players will have to rewire their brains for this change, as well as any others the company throws at them.