Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Xbox Focus - New Dashboard, Update, Avatars, Etc...

So far this is what the new dashboard is capable of: (too bad you don't get free microsoft points...but check out my top posts to see how!)

· Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive. Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.

· Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.

· Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it’s not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.

· LIVE Party system. Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos. It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games. LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing.

· Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends. Games will support everything you’d expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show. Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions. Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen.

· Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag - it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars. You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community. Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games.

· New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440x900 or 1680x1050.

This is only the beginning. Over the next few months, we will share more details on the upcoming changes.

Such things as your gamercard and standard gaming features are all there, but a lot has been added. LIVE Parties, (group chats, eight frickin' people in one chat!), has been added, something many gamers have been desiring. You can join games with your others in party (your avatar is always prsent), you can share photos, watch movies, television, and much much more as Shane Kim promised. Also, the avatars have been integrated into the certain games, something Nintendo fans have been asking for ages.

Not only that, but a television channel has been added, allowing you to stream television shows and movies (with new, upgraded titles and releases).

Microsoft clearly has reacted to Nintendo's push for the casual gamer, and while this may not be a motion controller, it's not far off. More details to come. Make with it as you want; but this is Microsoft's big thing. They have officially done it, the "new Xbox experience" will not long focus on the hardcore...and it's right around the corner. Goodbye blades, goodbye old dashboard. You've been replaced by the new, and hopefully for Microsoft's sake, revolutionary.

The new Xbox LIVE is scheduled to be released by the end of the year, and may God be kind on all of us.

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