Print 39 comment(s) - last by therealnickdan.. on Oct 15 at 3:20 PM

Microsoft reveals an improved Xbox Live interface

During their keynote address at the Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft announced it is redesigning the interface for its Xbox Live service. The update called the "New Xbox Experience" will launch on November 19 in 26 countries and will be localized in 19 languages.

Gamasutra scored an interview with Microsoft senior platform strategist Rob Gruhl and global platform marketing manager Albert Penello. They discussed the details of the Xbox Live update.

Xbox Live's Marketplace interface has also been redesigned. Players will be able to view more detailed descriptions, screenshots, and information more easily for titles. This information will also be made available on the Web, so that users who are not at their Xbox 360 can still browse through the Xbox Live Marketplace. A new games channel has been developed, including a new games details page for "back of the box games details." A spotlight channel has been developed that will show, anything on the Xbox Live service that is popular and new.

CNET recently acquired a demo of the “New Xbox Experience” and wrote up a detailed analysis of its features. One of the significant changes is the removal of the blade interface. The blades allowed users to access pages of information and features quickly due to the fact they are stacked on top of each other. The new interface uses full windows spread out on the screen.

Another significant change is the addition of the avatar system. Users can choose their avatar from a large group; each avatar is dressed differently, has a unique hair style, and skin color. Once you have chosen your avatar you will be allowed to customize it with new clothing, accessories, and hair. It is still unclear whether the avatar system will be incorporated into games -- other possibilities are the awarding of new accessories for your avatar based on your accomplishments in the Xbox Achievements system.

The other major feature of the “New Xbox Experience” is “parties”. This feature will allow groups of friends to communicate using chat or text messages. If the friends are not actively playing together it is still possible to see the profiles of other users including what they are playing.

Another change is Xbox Live users will be able to implement changes to their system through New accessories or game updates that have become available can be ordered through the internet. When users return to their Xbox 360s, they don't have to try to remember what it was they wanted.

A quick start mechanism has been incorporated that allows fast access to almost everything the system has to offer. If users are in a hurry it will allow them to skip the larger Xbox Live experience. Choices are more limited, but most of what they need is available.

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Is it required?
By quiksilvr on 10/9/2008 11:07:39 PM , Rating: 3
Can you choose between the two interfaces if you don't want to use the new interface? I like the blades rather than the lavish windows and pointless avatars.

RE: Is it required?
By oab on 10/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Is it required?
By TomCorelis on 10/10/2008 12:26:16 AM , Rating: 5
You're not allowed to log in to Xbox live if you're not up to date, last I heard.

RE: Is it required?
By therealnickdanger on 10/10/2008 9:30:23 AM , Rating: 2
Besides, the best feature of the new update is that now you can install games completely on the hard drive! Woot! Too bad they want $795.00 for the 120GB drive...

RE: Is it required?
By therealnickdanger on 10/10/2008 9:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, the article doesn't mention that at all! Teamxbox has a good write up about it as well as videos. Essentially you still have to put the disc in the drive to prove you own the game, but now the game just loads off the HDD, so no loud noises and faster load times.

If only they would let us use our own drives! I would love to someday put in a 250GB SSD rather than rely on the crap 5400RPM drives they're selling.

RE: Is it required?
By omnicronx on 10/10/2008 11:47:37 AM , Rating: 2
It probably caches the game on the hard drive so that the disc is just a validation, the PS3 does the same thing.

RE: Is it required?
By TreeDude62 on 10/10/2008 12:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
Dude a 128gb SSD is $400. The 250gb ones are not even out yet. No one would use one for an Xbox, that would be pointless. I would much rather have a 500gb 5400rpm drive for $150.

RE: Is it required?
By therealnickdanger on 10/10/2008 3:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would love to someday...

I wasn't talking about right this moment. "Someday" being a time where a 256GB high-speed SSD is a reasonable price (likely 12 months from now). Instant seek time, fastest possible load times, zero noise, lower power, less heat... It doesn't matter anyway because odds are the MS will never let us use our own drives. Just a pipedream of mine, sorry for sharing.

RE: Is it required?
By therealnickdanger on 10/15/2008 3:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, check this out.

Put the 2.5" Intel X-25M into a PS3:,2845,2332520...

RE: Is it required?
By TreeDude62 on 10/10/2008 12:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Try $140. Still way too much. I have the 60gb drive. I will probably put 2 or 3 games on it. GTA4 being the main one to get rid of that pesky pop up. Probably Halo 3 as well.

RE: Is it required?
By therealnickdanger on 10/10/2008 3:31:58 PM , Rating: 3
I was trying to make funny about their exhorbent asking price.

RE: Is it required?
By Subzero0000 on 10/10/2008 12:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
No, evenually you will have to update your system.

'cus it's gonna be like Wii and PSP which you will have to upgrade the firmware in order to play some of the new games.

RE: Is it required?
By StevoLincolnite on 10/10/2008 2:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yes you can, in-fact this information was leaked during July? I think, so it's done the run-around's on Youtube for awhile now.

You can even use your old Themes from the Blade Interface with the new "Guide Interface" however, rumor has it you can still revert to the blades interface if desired.

Also here is a Youtube Video Dating back 3 months:

Lets hope we can revert back to the Blades, I don't feel like having to muck around with "Mii's that have legs and arms".

RE: Is it required?
By Enigmatic on 10/10/2008 9:24:18 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't seem like you have to use the avators if you don't want to, and the little rolodex thing appears to be (superficially at least) as functional as the blades system. Plus they can add in new things without forcing in all these additional blades that take up screen real estate. As per any update for anything technology related, hard-core fans always cry foul... but eventually we all forget about the old system as the new one evolves and becomes much more than the previous one ever was.

RE: Is it required?
By afkrotch on 10/14/2008 7:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
I think the new interface doesn't look so bad. Cept those stupid avatar things. I'm not a huge fan of the stupid advertisements in the blade interface. Microsoft should look at the PS3 XMB and take a cue from that.

Sony also needs to take a cue from Microsoft on their interface. It's nice to simply look at your played games and select available downloads for that specific game. Instead of going into the Playstation Store and looking through a buttload of crap just to find a download.

RE: Is it required?
By V3ctorPT on 10/10/2008 7:11:53 AM , Rating: 2
Does it mean I can put my dummy dancing? or shooting other dummies?

RE: Is it required?
By Hiawa23 on 10/10/2008 10:38:21 AM , Rating: 2
I am really excited for something new on LIVE. Hats off to MS. Sony really needs to do something to make PSN more appealing, & also drop the price on the console. I own all three consoles, & the 360 gets played 95% of the time, PS3 played very little, & Wii hasn't even been turned on in a month. Despite the RROD, the economy, MS seems to be in a much better position for the holidays compared to Sony, which is surprising given the dominance of the Playstation brand the last decade.

RE: Is it required?
By Enigmatic on 10/10/2008 10:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I don't own a PS3, and with school and stuff my 360 gets little playtime as it is. But for gamers, undoubtedly the 360 is the best console. My Wii actually seems to get the most play-time by me, it's the only thing my friends (most of whom are non-gamers) want to do when their over. The only reason I would even consider a PS3 is for it's value as a blu-ray player (which will likely diminish as the months go buy and stand-alone players get cheaper).

RE: Is it required?
By BansheeX on 10/11/2008 8:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
Go ahead, buy the $200 Arcade. After buying an MS hard drive and paying for Live for three years, they've got you above the PS3 cost and you're still stuck with loud, low-density disc drive that can't play HD movies. Maybe if they take out the controller and double their live fees, they can move the shelf price to $100! Can't compete with that, Sony!

RE: Is it required?
By Enigmatic on 10/12/2008 11:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
Around here the Wii retails for $279.99 CDN and the 360 $199.99 CDN. The Wii does not come with a hard drive and does not support HD gaming. Yet, the Wii will outsell the 360 this holiday season. What you perceive as valuable is meaningless. Similarly, the 360 will outsell the PS3 this holiday season. The Wii rides on the strength of its casual appeal, and the 360 rides on the strength of its games. The PS3 rides on its strength as a Blu-ray with gaming as a bonus. Because I simply cannot see someone buying a PS3 for the games alone with a 360 on the shelf right beside it for half the price.

RE: Is it required?
By BansheeX on 10/12/2008 1:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
80% of 360 and PS3 titles are shared, with some of the 360's "exclusives" being ported to the PC a year later. The fact that games use blu-ray means the system is quieter while gaming and you'll never have to swap discs. That the PS3 plays blu-ray movies is a bonus, not the other way around. It's heavily advertised because it's a valued feature by gamers (100% of whom watch movies) that the 360 doesn't have. That it isn't a half-assed feature and does just as well as any stand-alone should be a feather in its hat. Instead, you've turned it on its head to mean that because it was so well implemented, it's now suffering an identity crisis because there are people who would actually buy it over a stand-alone. Huh?

Why are you even bringing the Wii into this? The Wii gets the most third-party assembly-ware of any platform, half of its sales are driven by the Sports and Fitness games that target untapped masses of people who wouldn't be caught dead playing things with any complexity or imagination to them. But those games don't appeal to people who play Soul Calibur, BioShock, Metal Gear Solid, Little Big Planet. Are we to feel like our games are worse because these games don't appeal to more than 10% of the population? Should I feel bad for not liking Britney Spears even though she sells millions of albums? Get off the sales fixation already, something is not better purely on the basis that more people are buying it. It's a terrible correlation, especially between apples and oranges. You hopefully choose things because YOU like them, not because of what other people are doing. Jesus.

What you perceive as valuable is meaningless

To sales charts, maybe, by why again do you care so much about that? I am trying to improve people's assessments of value, you're trying to spread self-fulfilling doubts and myths about how the PS3 isn't perceived as a gaming device. You aren't giving consumers enough credit. I thoroughly handed you your ass by telling you that $200 is not the price of the 360. The price at the end of the day after they charge you for things the PS3 doesn't and restrict you to overpriced upgrades, is much higher than that. Sure, they can drop the shelf price and make it LOOK cheap by increasing live fees even more, leaving out the controller, leaving out wifi, leaving out a hard drive. But people aren't stupid. So re-assess your predictions, Mr. Analyst.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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