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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 Xbox.com. 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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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.

quote:
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.


“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith











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