The next dashboard update for the Xbox 360 will expand the options for anyone who'd rather not touch a controller.
Be honest: is your 360 dashboard looking a little jumbled lately? Microsoft thinks so, and it has a solution. The Xbox 360 dashboard will see a new interface called Twist Control sometime around Christmas. This update will work fine with a normal controller, but is optimized for voice commands and motion controls via the Kinect add-on.
Twist Control uses channels on top of the screen instead of the traditional Xbox channel-scrolling. While the interface does not appear radically different from the existing dashboard, a video outlining the improvements made finding media and connecting with friends considerably more streamlined than before. In addition to the aesthetic differences, Twist Control will allow Kinect owners to browse with expanded motion and voice controls. One new feature in particular, the Beacons, will allow users to "signpost" their activities in order to attract friends via XBL and Facebook.
Representatives from Microsoft debuted the new UI at Gamescom and detailed the thought process behind the redesign. "Hopefully the new dash will show this service proposition goes beyond gaming," said Robin Burrowes, an Xbox live product marketing manager. There are currently over 20,000 pieces of media available through the various Xbox and Zune services, and some selections have attracted a whole new audience. Burrowes notes that the availability of Disney movies through Zune has broadened their demographics considerably.
Twist Control may not revolutionize the Xbox 360 experience, but it seems like a big step towards making the game console friendlier to a less tech-savvy audience.