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The new Xbox Live Marketplace blade

More information in the game on the main blade

Arcade classic Double Dragon hits XBLA

Enabling background downloading in low-power mode

Achievement pop-ups now tell you more

Chatting using Messenger on Xbox Live
New Xbox 360 Dashboard adds a plethora of new features

The biannual Xbox 360 dashboard update is finally upon us, and new in this Spring edition are a plethora of new features. The one that Microsoft seems to be most proud to advertise is the integration of Windows Live Messenger into the Xbox 360 Dashboard, allowing gamers to text chat while gaming, listening to music, or watching videos.

Xbox 360 users can chat with up to 20 contacts in a single conversation, and have up to six different conversations at the same time with people on PCs, mobile phones and other Xbox 360 consoles. Current relationships on Windows Live Messenger and Xbox Live are now unified on Xbox 360 and users can see at a glance if their existing friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags.

“Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox Live has really become the largest social network on television," said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox Live at Microsoft. "For our growing community of 6 million on Xbox Live, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox Live users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360."

To further facilitate easier text entry on the Xbox 360, Microsoft will release sometime in the summer a QWERTY keypad attachment for the Xbox 360 controller. Perhaps the most effective solution is to plug a USB keyboard into the console, which is now an officially supported feature of the Xbox 360. Those without USB keyboards or the keypad attachment will have to enter text using a virtual on-screen keyboard.

Chatty features aside, gamers will be happy to know that the Achievement system is now more informative. Achievements will now pop-up, notifying the gamer of the name of the achievement and the value, without the need to manually check the list. Also, now the Dashboard will identify which game is in the DVD-ROM drive, rather than simply displaying the “Play Game” text it previously did.

A new Xbox Live Marketplace “blade” has been added to better focus on downloadable game content, TV shows and movies. Great news for those who frequent the Xbox Live Video Marketplace is progressive download control letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded. Furthermore, extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.

Updates to Xbox Live Arcade allow owners to quickly see which games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox Live members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. A new option in Auto Downloads will provide faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox Live Arcade games.

New on the side of Xbox 360’s video playback is support for H.264 and MPEG-4 codecs, though unfortunately for DivX downloaders, the Xbox 360 will only natively support the WMV and MP4 containers—not AVI or MKV.

The Spring Update is now available to every Xbox 360 owner through Xbox Live or on Xbox.com.



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Live Messenger
By BMFPitt on 5/9/2007 7:29:39 AM , Rating: 1
Does anybody know a single person that uses "the biggest IM community in the world"?




RE: Live Messenger
By InsidiousAngel on 5/9/2007 7:37:48 AM , Rating: 3
Pretty much everyone I know does (yes, more than 1 person =)). However, a lot of us use Trillian so we access other systems as well.


RE: Live Messenger
By zombiexl on 5/9/2007 7:41:05 AM , Rating: 2
I know a number of companies that use it as a corporate standard.

In my previous job i used it to communicate with all of my co-workers around the globe, my customers, etc.

I dont think I know anyone who doesnt use it for something.


RE: Live Messenger
By Rotkiv on 5/9/2007 7:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
I don't use it. For me, it is just plain redundant.


RE: Live Messenger
By brshoemak on 5/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Live Messenger
By thebrown13 on 5/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Live Messenger
By glitchc on 5/9/2007 9:38:07 AM , Rating: 4
There's no connection between the Messenger service in Windows and Windows Live Messenger. The Messenger service is used to receive broadcast messages from a domain controller to other computers on the network. It should be disabled since it is quite riddled with security flaws, but not for the reasons you stated. It became quite popular as an ad tool a few years ago, until people realized you could do more than just open a dialog box with a message in it.

Please get your facts straight.


RE: Live Messenger
By Jackyl on 5/9/2007 11:33:55 AM , Rating: 3
You sure told brshoemak. hehe. He uses it at work and thought the service was related to Windows Messenger. How funny. Can I have his job? It's people like this that shouldn't be in the I.T. field and is taking all the jobs away from competent people.


RE: Live Messenger
By ObscureCaucasian on 5/9/2007 10:24:35 AM , Rating: 2
I think AIM is only really popular in the US, from what I've heard MSN Messenger is really popular in many European Countries.


RE: Live Messenger
By Vinnybcfc on 5/9/2007 2:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah nearly everyone in the UK uses MSN Messenger


RE: Live Messenger
By enlil242 on 5/9/2007 5:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
I use it as well as most of my friends. I mean it's just IM, not a mobile phone service or an automobile company. I type my message, hit send and the other person recieves it and either chooses to respond or not ... Not to mention that you can add yahoo users now, for which I do not know any yahoo users, but at least I can try the yahoo client if I want. Also, Windows Mobile 6 has the live client now. I don't choose this over anything else, it's just what most of my friends (buddies) use.


RE: Live Messenger
By otispunkmeyer on 5/10/2007 3:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
yup

everyone i know either doesnt use IM full stop, or if they do, its MSN/live messenger.


RE: Live Messenger
By NumpXP on 5/10/2007 7:37:56 AM , Rating: 2
and most use yahoo messenger in Malaysia, if anybody care to know. :D


RE: Live Messenger
By KentState on 5/9/2007 10:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
It's our company standard and I know of other companies that use it as well.


RE: Live Messenger
By nayy on 5/9/2007 10:46:56 AM , Rating: 3
Which one you consider to be "the biggest IM community in the world"?
AOL is virtually non existent outside the US, Yahoo Messenger is integrated with MSN Messenger (and MS may acquire Yahoo), I heard on Cnet that ICQ was a top download but is no where as strong as it used to, google talk and skype are VoIP programs with IM capability, but are not an "IM community" per se.
I'm from Mexico, don't know anyone that uses any other IM.
Anyone form Europe or Asia to comment on what’s hot over there?


RE: Live Messenger
By wien on 5/9/2007 11:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
Here in Norway, and most other parts of Europe as far as I've been able to tell, *everyone* uses MSN. ICQ used to be big, but I haven't seen it around for years now.


RE: Live Messenger
By kbk75dt on 5/9/2007 10:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
I live in India and just about everyone I know uses Messenger here for their IM needs. Skype is popular for VOIP, but MSNM is king for text.


RE: Live Messenger
By OblivionMage on 5/9/2007 3:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have always used it...


RE: Live Messenger
By Crowbar77 on 5/9/2007 5:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
MSN is definitively the most common in Canada, aim is actually not very well known around here.


RE: Live Messenger
By OddTSi on 5/9/2007 7:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to talk to anyone outside of the U.S. you'll most likely be using MSN. AIM is only the top IM community in the U.S.


RE: Live Messenger
By Mithan on 5/13/2007 12:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
I use it and why not? Its a great IM tool.


OMG. Bricked Console
By DaveDee on 5/9/2007 8:20:33 AM , Rating: 5
Don't know if Microsoft are rolling out the updates to everyone, but mine just updated, and I was looking around the new dashboard options, it suddently locked up. I rebooted it, and now all I get is the 3 red rings...

I have phoned Microsoft, as the console is only 2 month old :-(

360 owners beware...




RE: OMG. Bricked Console
By Eurasianman on 5/9/2007 9:19:37 AM , Rating: 2
This still doesn't make much sense. Thought the 3 red lights on the ring meant hardware failure (as in overheating or something). I don't see how an update could really cause the console to mess up, unless it messes up the firmware *shudders*

Yea... I got my console right when it came out and had it replace 3 months later. If I update it and craps out... at least I'll have an excuse to get a PS3 or Elite (black would match my 32" LCD TV a lot better than the white =P)

Anyways... hope the update doesn't kill my box =X


By therealnickdanger on 5/9/2007 9:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
I've been reading a lot of threads on different forums this morning and yours is the first reported problem I've seen. In addition to calling MS, you might want to drop a post into the AVS Forum insider thread, telling Amir about your model of TV and such. He can send your post directly to the GUI team to get an answer that could potentially help lots more people (assuming it is not an isolated incident).


By therealnickdanger on 5/9/2007 8:42:46 AM , Rating: 4
OK, so here is the full situation on Xbox 360.

There are TWO distinct updates/releases. One for the console/dashboard and another just for HD DVD. They have different release schedules although they are very, very close to each other as I type this.

The dashboard update has the support for different video levels on VGA which people have noticed with dull looking video. This fix applies to all content coming out of the 360, and not just HD DVD output.

The HD DVD update has support for better dynamic range on audio, and support for DTS, WMA Pro, etc. It also has fixes for lip sync and a number of compatibility fixes for various titles (include DVE test disc).

The Elite has NOT shipped with the spring update for the dashboard. Nor does it have the HD DVD update. So you would need to upgrade it just the same when the updates come out.

Per my hint above, we are days away from HD DVD update being ready. So let's not talk about Fall, etc. for that release .

__________________
Amir
Microsoft (HD DVD insider)
VC-1 video codec insider in BD/HD DVD
Ask me questions about HD DVD here




By otispunkmeyer on 5/10/2007 3:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
what is nite mode?


By therealnickdanger on 5/10/2007 8:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
"Night mode" is a feature found on a lot of receivers and devices. It has to do with Dynamic Range (audio, not video/HDR). Basically, if you have crap speakers or headphones, they are incapable of properly reproducing the full gamut of subtle frequencies found in the encoded digital audio track of a given DVD/HD-DVD/BD or game.

What the Dynamic Range settings allow you to do is increase the dB level of quiet frequencies to bring them up near the level of the louder portions of the speaker system or you can set it to maximum and do nothing to the original track. Night Mode does the opposite and reduces the dB levels of the loud frequencies and bass output.

The 360 is trapped in this mode of operation due to an oversight regarding the design of the 360 dashboard. The Dolby "regulations" require that Night Mode be the default setting if there is no method within the user interface to deactivate it. It basically assumes that the 360 is a mobile DVD player. This update will change the default setting from Night Mode to FULL Dynamic Range.

*applause and gospel choir*


Broke My 360
By Learn2play007 on 5/16/2007 12:46:01 AM , Rating: 2
I am active military and I have a canadian fiancee who lives 35 minutes from the US Washington Border. Spring update and all of a sudden none of the downloadable content works. "This content is not available in your region". My fiancee brought this for me. It has lived at her house forever and now micro$oft forces me to take a fancier looking mod/update that HAXORS all of my attempted downloadables. No help from microsoft on this either. Licensing yadda yadda Rights. FTC where are you. I want a full refund since my Wii is my primary gaming sytem and this 360 box is now completely useless to me conveinently 5 months after I bought. Im so tired of this. When I first bought it I couldn't buy points until I called in. Then all was fine until this stupid update SPRUNG into my box. They might tell you to make a new Player ID in the region you are in ie Canada or Japan. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME! Canadian player ID's have a total of approx 10 downloads combined games and videos. Maybe it has to do with the CRTC that everything needs to be english/french in canada, I have no idea. I have a feeling everywhere else is much worse after all Canada is N.America last time I checked. I will place this on as many sites as I can as long as I am ticked off. Nice one hollywood. Screw your troops when they most likely have nothing else to do for some much needed relaxation behind enemy lines.




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