Tuesday, July 15th 2008
Based on the feedback received from the beginning of the Xbox LIVE entertainment dashboard, Microsoft said today it will be enhancing the service soon with a new update. Among the new features that will be included, one deserves special attention. Called "play from hard drive" it will allow Xbox 360 owners to copy their games from the game disc to their hard drive and also start the game from there for faster load times. The game disc is still required for piracy reasons though, but it won't be spinning after the game is started. A quick look at some of the other features you might find interesting follows below.
- Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.
- Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it's not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.
- LIVE Party system. Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos. It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games. LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing.
- Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends. Games will support everything you'd expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show. Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions. Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen.
- Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag - it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars. You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community. Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games.
- New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440x900 or 1680x1050.
This is only the beginning. Over the next few months, we will share more details on the upcoming changes.