Here's The Skinny On Microsoft's New 360 Update

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Here's The Skinny On Microsoft's New 360 Update

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Are you curious about what the upcoming Xbox Dashboard update will contain? We've got the details, and the changes are massive.

Back in 2008, the New Xbox Experience took the 360's user interface and spun it firmly on its head. Now, just over three years later, Microsoft's planning to give the UI another overhaul. The update is about to launch in a couple of days, and it's pretty dang substantial.

Microsoft's key goal with this redesign is threefold. First, it wanted to bring all the forms of entertainment you could want into one convenient setting, including games, music, movies, and sports. Second, there needs to be a simple and easy way to quickly find the content you want. Third, the media experience needs to be "better, more personal, and more social."

The new Xbox Dashboard is based on the Metro design featured in the Windows Phone, with various hubs being assigned to different forms of media, including subjects like music, television, games, and apps. Microsoft is clearly planning to make Metro its cross-platform system of choice, as it's the style that Windows 8 is set to feature. The goal of this is to give users a "unified experience across all Microsoft platforms."

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One of the big new features with the Dashboard is that the interface has been designed to fully take advantage of the Kinect. Up until now, the Kinect's use has been somewhat limited outside of games; this has been especially frustrating with apps like Netflix, where it's actually a hassle to try and get anything done. According to Microsoft, though, app developers are now required to integrate Kinect with their programs. Microsoft's even integrated Kinect with the new integration of Xbox Live and the Bing search engine: By saying "Xbox: Bing search: [search term]" you'll suddenly find yourself looking at the Bing search results for whatever it is you wanted to look up.

The Bing search feature will also apply to media consumption. After asking for Bing to search for a movie or a TV show, the search results will display the various options you'll have to view it - examples include streaming the media through services like Hulu and/or Netflix, as well as downloadable options like the Zune Marketplace.

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While new features are certainly a large part of the new Dashboard setup, the number of media/social partners that Microsoft has joined up with is also impressive. So far, there's a huge list of companies that are scheduled to be integrated between the December 6th launch and "early 2012." In the United States, groups like Syfy, HBO, Facebook, and YouTube are scheduled to make an appearance. Meanwhile, international audiences will be able to enjoy services like MediaSet in Italy, Movitar Imagenio in Spain, Sky DE in Germany, and MUZU.TV throughout most of Europe.

Some of these partnerships will also allow you to customize your media experience, too. One example is with ESPN. When you use the group's app, you can specify what sports you want to follow, as well as which teams you'd like updates on, and which highlights you actually want to watch. Essentially, you can create your own version of Sportscenter.

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Finally, there are a couple of cool new features specific to gaming: Beacon and the Roaming Profile. Beacon is designed to help you find people to game with, putting out a call (acting like, you know, a beacon) to let your friends know that you're hoping to game with them. The notice will appear on both Xbox Live and Facebook, letting your friends know that you're looking for some folks to play with. From there, your friends can offer to join up with you

Meanwhile, the roaming profile utilizes cloud gaming to allow you to take your Xbox Live account with you on the go: Not only will you be able to log in to your profile on a friend's Xbox, but you'll be able to bring your saved games over to that console, too. The way this all works is that you'll select the cloud as the storage device of choice for your game saves. Exactly how much you can save to the cloud isn't apparent yet, but Microsoft will probably announce a data limit.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 dashboard update is set to launch on Tuesday, December 6th.

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Cool, cool, cool. I'm mostly excited about Youtube.

I don't know...this looks cool, but honestly whenever I hear of companies doing stuff like this I just think "okay let's completely trash everything that user is used to and fill it in with new more complicated crap that they don't need but we're gonna find a way to make them want it and then pay for it."

At the same time I could just be cynical. I suppose as long as my gold subscription price doesn't go up, I'll figure it out. And maybe it's just my general misanthropy but...what is it with this social obsession everyone has? Does facebook REALLY have to be available to a person every single nanosecond of there day?

ahhh why is everything changing... first nexus modding site (clusterfuck design) then youtube, facebook is following soon, now xbox dashboard! oh well least it looks okay...ish

silverbullet1989:
ahhh why is everything changing... first nexus modding site (clusterfuck design) then youtube, facebook is following soon, now xbox dashboard! oh well least it looks okay...ish

Actually i have already seen the new dashboard in person already and theres nothing cluster about it at all. In fact, this change is actually great compared to the other changes from other sites you mentioned. Its more user friendly along with the new things added to it, although it does look similar to the ps3 dashboard...just a little :3.

But overall, for once in a pretty big while, were actually getting great changes. Can't wait for this to go live.

The blades were still better. Sadly, giving the consumer options is a big no-no in walled garden systems. After all, they need to have that space for more ads!

*Shrugs* I use my Xbox purely for gaming. New UI doesn't bother me, at the most I'll be pleased to look at shiny things.

This is probably gonna be one of those things like the recent youtube change... At first people will be shitting bricks over it, but if you actually make the most of whats on offer, its a good, thought out update.

Why do I have a feeling I'm gonna be doing even more swearing at the xbox. Its bad enough I have to scroll through five bars of kinect and video crap before I can actually get to the gaming I brought the damn console for.

Now they will be adding even more crap?

I'm always up for cool new changes to the Xbox Dashboard. Still not gonna get me to buy the Kinect though.
I know the new UI is optimized for Kinect, but I hope it's not too much of an increased hassle for non Kinect users.

The netflix changes look pretty awesome, at the very least.

Jove:

silverbullet1989:
ahhh why is everything changing... first nexus modding site (clusterfuck design) then youtube, facebook is following soon, now xbox dashboard! oh well least it looks okay...ish

Actually i have already seen the new dashboard in person already and theres nothing cluster about it at all. In fact, this change is actually great compared to the other changes from other sites you mentioned. Its more user friendly along with the new things added to it, although it does look similar to the ps3 dashboard...just a little :3.

But overall, for once in a pretty big while, were actually getting great changes. Can't wait for this to go live.

Oh good its nice to hear... but there's always gonna be people who hate when the slightest thing changes... look what happens with facebook every time the smallest thing changes lol

It does look nice, i just hope current game themes continue to work with it, don't suppose you saw anything to do with that did you?

Here's guessing how many Scandinavian (European) countries are going to be entirely left out from this, mainly thanks to our draconian and corrupt digital rights and copyright laws.

So nothing new I have any interest in.

So long as I don't have to use metro too often, e.g. only when changing settings, I guess I can put up with it.

This does look cool.

silverbullet1989:

Jove:

silverbullet1989:
ahhh why is everything changing... first nexus modding site (clusterfuck design) then youtube, facebook is following soon, now xbox dashboard! oh well least it looks okay...ish

Actually i have already seen the new dashboard in person already and theres nothing cluster about it at all. In fact, this change is actually great compared to the other changes from other sites you mentioned. Its more user friendly along with the new things added to it, although it does look similar to the ps3 dashboard...just a little :3.

But overall, for once in a pretty big while, were actually getting great changes. Can't wait for this to go live.

Oh good its nice to hear... but there's always gonna be people who hate when the slightest thing changes... look what happens with facebook every time the smallest thing changes lol

It does look nice, i just hope current game themes continue to work with it, don't suppose you saw anything to do with that did you?

I didn't see that part no. I was just in a group I went to last week and we were using someone's xbox 360. In his xbox 360, apparantly he's apart of the beta version for free so that's how i got a view of it. Only for a couple of minutes though, then we just played Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 lol.

So I can't save to the cloud and locally at the same time?

Wait, when did the Xbox turn from "Awesome game machine that can sorta be used for movies and shit, I guess if you're lame. Maybe." to "Movies and some games if you are socially awkward."

Oh hey, it's the Zune HD look.

Since I from Portugal I wont be getting most of this stuff. I still dont care for the though.

I'm on the beta and I can say that the new dashboard is awesome. It's very fast, very smooth and it's much easier to find stuff, and less cluttered.

And yes, your themes still work perfectly fine.

The only time I will be excited about my kinect will be when they accept that it has no idea what you are doing half the time, and banish it to controlling minimal things with the use of gestures and voice commands.

Sucal:
Why do I have a feeling I'm gonna be doing even more swearing at the xbox. Its bad enough I have to scroll through five bars of kinect and video crap before I can actually get to the gaming I brought the damn console for.

Now they will be adding even more crap?

Don't worry, you start at the games tab, and you can switch using the bumpers.

Pariahwulfen:
Oh hey, it's the Zune HD look.

Yeah, I own a Windows Phone and then saw a Zune HD demo video and thought 'that looks familiar'...

I for one am a massive advocate for Metro. I think that the minimailst graphic design, along with the 'tiles and hubs' idea is really nice, across all Metro platforms. The swirly-loading circle looks out of place I must say, they should have the sliding blocks like on Windows Phone, but that's just me nit-picking

Sorry, when your lecturer at uni is a Microsoft MVP who goes around the world and promotes Windows Phone, it kinda rubs off on you...

Centrophy:
The blades were still better. Sadly, giving the consumer options is a big no-no in walled garden systems. After all, they need to have that space for more ads!

Sorry, but even if the old Blades UI was back in the good old days before ads, it was an ugly and unintutive system. Or at least, thats how I feel because looking at it I would go, "WTF". Even if you could get used to it, there was a learning curve. Learning curves are not good for when you are designing a UI.

That last bit is what surprised me the most. No more bringing hard drives over to friend's houses and all that nonsense! :D

sorry, tl;dr.
will there be complete youtube integration, or just youtube trending? not that i do much on my 360 besides play skyrim, new vegas, and reach, but it would be cool to watch my youtube subscriptions on a bigger screen than my mbp.

just give me youtube and syfy! but that all looks cool. yeah change can be annoying, but i usually welcome it. i mean, were (most of us) gamers, we can adapt to anything after long enough. and i've been going for YEARS.

It amuses me that nobody appears to be able to wait until they even actually used the new dashboard before going on rants about how they'll no longer be able to use their Xbox360 because the corporate machine is evil and wants to own their soul.

Eh, I probably won't get to update to it till like 6 months after they put it out.(dorm internet is not compatible with game consoles) Least by then they'll have all the bugs worked out.

soooo... no Skype integration then? What the hell was the point of buying skype if they weren't going to add it to live?

silverbullet1989:
ahhh why is everything changing... first nexus modding site (clusterfuck design) then youtube, facebook is following soon, now xbox dashboard! oh well least it looks okay...ish

youtube.com/home fixes youtube :)

So for Swedes, the update includes... the new interface, the beacon-things, etc. and YouTube. Hooray, I guess.

It sure would be nice to get an excellent on-demand service (like Hulu) in Europe at some point, but I guess people aren't interested in my money. *Sobs*

As long as I can still switch it on, insert a disc and press play with no hassle, this will not bother me.

I'm not gonna be one of those people who complains because it's new. I will, however, complain about the fact that it's specifically designed for people who have Kinect (still a minority of Xbox users, as far as I'm aware) to the point where it appears anyone who doesn't have it will get a shittier experience. I'm sorry, Microsoft. Even if I wanted and could afford Kinect, there is literally nowhere in my house that I could set it up. My room is too small and the lounge would need to be rearranged in such a way that the furniture wouldn't fit.

But yes: like the guy up there a bit, I'm wondering when the Xbox stopped being 'a games console with media capabilities' and became 'a media centre that can sort of play games on the off-chance you're into that sort of thing'.

Additional features to the Xbox experience. What is the problem here?

Even of I don't use all of them, just having them is a good thing

All this and they can't make it less blindingly white?

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