Xbox Series X gets night mode, but why has it taken this long?

Surely this sort of thing should be standard by now?

Xbox Series X restock
(Image credit: Future)

The Xbox Series X is apparently getting a night mode, as a very early test in the Insider program has revealed. Insiders are Microsoft’s early testers, who sign up for alpha and beta versions of Windows and, indeed, the Xbox system updates. This new addition is in the alpha skip ahead ring, which means it’s probably at a very early phase of testing. 

The night mode appears to give you control over a number of handy options, like the brightness of the console output, the amount of blue light protection and the option to dim the lights on both the console and the controller. This is all very useful stuff, so I’m not massively surprised that Microsoft is adding them in. 

What does surprise me somewhat is the fact that dark or night modes aren’t just built into everything from the start. We know at this point that late night blue light is bad for sleep, so pretty much every consumer device should have a way to reduce blue output. It also stands to reason that some people prefer more control over brightness and UI colour schemes. Night mode and dark settings are incredibly popular, so why is it taking a year for these features to get added in. 

It feels at this point that every consumer device should just come with these features out of the box. Although, I suppose at least part of the problem with this is that nothing ever ships in a finished state these days. We’ve come to accept the fact that games consoles, phones and TVs are going to need constant updates over their lives to either fix bugs, or add new features.

That said, perhaps we should be encouraging companies to at least consider launching with some basic features. After all, some of this kind of falls into accessibility. Some people may need more control over how their games console operates because of disabilities or other requirements. 

I don’t mean to be too grumpy about the whole thing, but it does strike me as odd that we keep having the “it’s getting a dark mode” news cycle, when really this is a basic feature that could be included from the very start. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.