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New Xbox Experience Goes Live

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the quick-get-some-of-those-mii-things dept.

Microsoft 332

Today, Microsoft launched the New Xbox Experience for Xbox Live. The list of new features includes the streaming of TV shows and movies through Netflix, the ability to install games to the HDD, an avatar system, and the Community Games platform. The launch itself was shaky at first, but most issues have been smoothed out. Sony-owned Columbia Pictures immediately pulled their movie selection, though it may return when a licensing deal gets worked out. Halo 3 developer Bungie pointed out that not all games will run faster when installed to a HDD because of the way the games already interact with the drive.

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332 comments

kids (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829883)

your games, your tv...
it's a golden goulag.
you desserve your fucking cancers, you fat fucks.

it's pants (1, Informative)

maudface (1313935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829889)

The Blade system worked fine, having played with the new one for a little while I have to say it appear to blow goats, it's not particularly intuitive and it doesn't make brilliant use of screen real estate. The mii creation rip is reasonably well implemented though, I managed to make someone who looks remarkably like myself, which I've never managed on a wii.

Re:it's pants (5, Insightful)

Frac O Mac (1138427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829945)

The old blade system has been turned into the new guide menu, just with all the useless extras stripped out. While I myself don't like having to relearn where everything is, I think its an improvement overall.

Re:it's pants (1)

maudface (1313935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829963)

Fair enough, I rarely use my 360 these days so I found it only to be an annoyance while trying to navigate to my arcade games, I just liked the simplicity of the blade system and how I didn't feel like I was having media thrown at me.

Re:it's pants (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830341)

Really? It's precisely the navigation to Live Arcade games that's my favourite improvement. The old system used to take an age to display the full list once I got past ~30 games - the new system is almost instant.

Re:it's pants (3, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830549)

Not to mention that there's now a dedicated "quick launch" option in the new guide so you can quickly get to all your Arcade games from ANYWHERE.

Re:it's pants (5, Interesting)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830927)

After using NXE for a few hours, it was obvious that the entire system is just better. The navigation, the organization, the amount of information displayed....everything is better.

Despite what the first poster said, Arcade games are easier to get to. AND, you can remove demos/zero gamerscore games from your history. Just that alone is worth the download.

Re:it's pants (4, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830333)

The Blade system worked fine, having played with the new one for a little while I have to say it appear to blow goats, it's not particularly intuitive and it doesn't make brilliant use of screen real estate.

The blade system always looked like a bunch of building blocks for the under fives. From day one it has been cursingly ugly. So, whilst it 'worked fine' I don't think that was quite enough. Not when the competitors' alternative looks and drives like an Aston Martin.

The new system is much more sleek, and appealed to me instantly. I do share your concern about screen real estate, though. Whilst it doesn't cause me any problems, I'm not sure I would be saying that if I was playing on a standard def screen.

I managed to make someone who looks remarkably like myself, which I've never managed on a wii.

So did I, but my wife started to cry, so I changed it to look like someone else. There's a t-shirt for your avatars with the Xbox 'green circle of light' on it. I know this is kind of an obvious comment, but I genuinely looked for the red one to go with it, before realised why it would not be there.

So iconic is that red circle, that I consider its presence to be missing in xbox related merch.

Re:it's pants (1)

adam.bower (61676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830745)

Interesting, as we can't get any of the crappy xbox avatars to look like anybody we know, in all honesty I really dislike them and it annoys me that Microsoft are forcing me to have an avatar that looks nothing like me, I'd rather have the choice of using non-human types or nothing. This is compared to the 10 Mii's we have on the Wii which all look very much like the real world person they are supposed to represent.

Re:it's pants (1)

D4MO (78537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830781)

It didn't scale.

Re:it's pants (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830945)

Exactly.

I was tired of digging deep down into menus that no longer made sense.

The original interface was created before the Marketplace expanded.

It was time for a change.

Duplicity: theres already a "utility parition" (4, Informative)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829893)

It seems games already use the HD, if exist:

"In a post on the Bungie forums, engineer Mat Noguchi explains that the slower loading after a full HDD install is a direct result of how the game was designed to use the HDD in the first place. "When Halo 3 runs, if a HDD is present, we copy maps from the DVD to the utility partition on the HDD," says Noguchi. "And as a result, it means that even if Halo 3 is already installed to the HDD, it will still copy maps to the utility partition."

The problem is games that still try to use the harddisk ....again. For a PC game, this looks like really easy fix, but I have no idea for a console, as a console is locked down hardware ..for the user and the game dev.. I don't know.

Re:Duplicity: theres already a "utility parition" (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830145)

The 360 automatically downloads patches for games, not a big issue. I guess MS will allow devs to patch stuff that doesn't work well with this NXE stuff.

I like the improvement to the load times in EDF2017, the menu had annoying load times before but they're almost zero with the install. Not sure if level load times have really improved much though.

Re:Duplicity: theres already a "utility parition" (1)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830817)

Re:Duplicity: theres already a "utility parition" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830471)

remember, kids: when your mom says do not use the HDD as a cache, it surely meant it!

Progress (1)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829907)

The world needs more US-only movie streaming sections!

Re:Progress (1, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830539)

Have you seen the rubbish the rest of the world is producing?

Re:Progress (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830921)

Have you seen how ignorant you are?

Re:Progress (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#25831079)

Have you seen my name?

defectivebydesign (5, Insightful)

robvangelder (472838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829927)

I'm so sick of this tag showing up under each microsoft article.
we're at 3 comments posted, and already the tag exists.

either installed by an alliance of hardcore slashdotters, or by the admins themselves.
the preferences bug prevents hiding tags. it feeds the conspiracy theorist in me.

either way, it smacks of the behaviour politicians employ just before losing an election.

Re:defectivebydesign (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830051)

The tag functionality in Slashdot is pretty defunct due to exactly that kind of thing, I don't really register them anymore in the same way I know adverts are there but the get processed out as noise.

Re:defectivebydesign (5, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830329)

Tags on slashdot are non-functional. They are like the new joke, the new 'from the xxx dept' line.

Re:defectivebydesign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830413)

>it feeds the conspiracy theorist in me.

so naive of you: the true conspiracy theorist thinks you or your pals put the tag where it isn't appropriate, to discredit it where it is.

Re:defectivebydesign (1)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830499)

the preferences bug prevents hiding tags.

That's not a bug! It's defectivebydesign!

Re:defectivebydesign (0, Offtopic)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830827)

I agree with the tag. I have a xbox 360, lasted 3 months. Last night after playing a dvd the video went bad at the power down menu and has not came back. I spent half an hour trouble shooting. Defective by design, I belive so. Innefective cooling = dead components. The gpu probably has fried.

Re:defectivebydesign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830937)

But it's true!

New features rock. (5, Insightful)

Frac O Mac (1138427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829933)

Quite a few of them should have been implemented long ago but if nothing else, this makes the xbox just that much better. Its not mentioned in the summary but the new party system is awesome; I can chat with all my friends at the same time even if someone has to leave and come back, and we don't even have to go through all the menus. While this update may not be too newsworthy for many out there, for people like me who play their 360 far too much (left 4 dead ftw atm!) this is a huge increase in overall functionality.

I love it but feel stupid for doing so (5, Informative)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829951)

I'm slightly embarassed to say it, but I really like the update.

I love the streaming videos more than I probably should. In fact, I'm going to say I love it for the exact reasons I play games on the console rather than the PC in the first place: I don't like messing around with the PC settings at all when I'm trying to entertain myself. The netflix streaming videos didn't work instantly on my PC and I never bothered with it again, on the console it worked immediately. Call that laziness if you want, I'll just turn around and call you something else.

I was entertained for about 10 minutes with making an avatar even though it was a blatant ripoff of the wii and somehow cheesier.

The running games on the hard drive on the other hand was a letdown, as Halo immediately told me I should not be running the game off the HDD. For offline games it still sounds like a good thing, as the disc drive on those things crap out frequently.

The new menu is really a tossup and not that important either way.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830183)

Call that laziness if you want, I'll just turn around and call you something else.

Is it "competent"?

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (5, Informative)

fahrvergnugen (228539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830225)

Pros:
+Netflix streaming video works like a charm.
+Avatars have potential and are reasonably customizable, very similar to the Mii.
+It's great to see the party system extended beyond COD4 / Halo 3.
+Playing from HDD instead of from CD will certainly cut down on wear & tear.
+In-game dashboard is much nicer.

Cons:
-We've gone from 5 tabs to 50+ screens. It's crap.
-The menu defaults to the "showcase" channel, which advertises Microsoft's newest games. This means that Microsoft, not content with getting us to pay $300+ for a console and $50 / year for Live, feels the need to advertise to us every time we go to the dashboard.
-Old themes port very poorly, stretched across the background in awkward ways.
-Many links to premium content have been pushed to the front page.
-"Autodownload" feature for the Arcade releases is gone.
-Haven't fixed the glaring file management bugs - it's not possible to do something like, say, delete 150 old Oblivion saves to reclaim disk space while keeping 5 of them without pressing 4 buttons for each individual savegame. Not a problem until you realize they're over a megabyte apiece, and on a 20gb hard disk this adds up fast.

On the whole I hate it. The ui is completely cluttered now, but the defaulting to advertisements behavior and the up-front sells for premium content are a dealbreaker. I'm changing my 360's default behavior to "boot what's in the drive" from "default to dashboard" and I'm never looking back.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830295)

Thanks fahrvergnugen for your input. I'm sure Microsoft will make sure to satisify a slashdot reading linux hippie.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830339)

Cons:
-The menu defaults to the "showcase" channel, which advertises Microsoft's newest games. This means that Microsoft, not content with getting us to pay $300+ for a console and $50 / year for Live, feels the need to advertise to us every time we go to the dashboard.

Exactly what I thought, until I realised that to start a game, the button presses have gone from something like "down-down-down-down-down A" to "up A". Ok, not a huge difference, but it all feels so much smoother - *and* it either logs you into Live earlier, or it doesn't reset the menus when it logs you in, which changes it from "down-down-down-down dammit down-down-down-down-down A" to "up A".

Or have I lost you all? ;-)

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (5, Informative)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830407)

The showcase channel can be switched off. I did that soon after not making an avatard.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (4, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830561)

No, that's the "welcome" channel, two completely different things.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (2, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830567)

I'm with you on that one. What's more, previously the dash used to be cluttered with ads everywhere, now they're all in one section that can be much more easily ignored. Sure, it's annoying that it's the default section, but it's a small price to pay and a much better way of integrating adverts, if you ask me. Plus it seems to be the only way to advertise new features, like the photo sharing app - I actually went looking for it before it appeared there and it must have taken me a good 15mins just to find where it was hidden (it's under "Game add-ons" for some reason).

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830609)

The pre-release news on the system talked about how you can set it to use the old menu again, I didn't read that part though.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (1)

cra (172225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830731)

Cons:
-Haven't fixed the glaring file management bugs - it's not possible to do something like, say, delete 150 old Oblivion saves to reclaim disk space while keeping 5 of them without pressing 4 buttons for each individual savegame. Not a problem until you realize they're over a megabyte apiece, and on a 20gb hard disk this adds up fast.

I agree on this one. A posibility to tag files for deleteion and *then* remove them would be nice. Or at least make use of the red and green buttons for No/Yes instead of having to mothe the damn stick up to yes and then press A.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (4, Insightful)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25831121)

+It's great to see the party system extended beyond COD4 / Halo 3.

The party system always did extend beyond these games (to most games in fact). The party system in NXE is different. You can be in a party with some friends, but doing different things (playing a game, watching a movie, etc). You can switch to the party channel if you wish to only communicate with people in your party, or the game channel if you want to chat with the people you're playing with. So if you want to play COD4 but you're tired of dealing with obnoxious gamers, you can first start a party with your friends, and then play COD4, and stay on the party channel -- no need to deal with obnoxious ppl. Same for any game, in NXE now.

-We've gone from 5 tabs to 50+ screens. It's crap.

Why compare tabs to screens? We've gone from 5 tabs to 6 channels. Panning left/right in a channel is like scrolling up/down in a tab.

-The menu defaults to the "showcase" channel, which advertises Microsoft's newest games. This means that Microsoft, not content with getting us to pay $300+ for a console and $50 / year for Live, feels the need to advertise to us every time we go to the dashboard.

Turn off the Showcase channel :). It's in the settings somewhere.

-Old themes port very poorly, stretched across the background in awkward ways.

Hrm.. I didn't have that experience. I did see the wallpapers being obscured below the horizon (no idea what the correct term is) though. Considering the magnitude of the upgrade, I'm hardly concerned about this though. I do agree it's irritating if you've actually purchased a theme, for it to not be as pervasive as it was earlier.

-Haven't fixed the glaring file management bugs - it's not possible to do something like, say, delete 150 old Oblivion saves to reclaim disk space while keeping 5 of them without pressing 4 buttons for each individual savegame. Not a problem until you realize they're over a megabyte apiece, and on a 20gb hard disk this adds up fast.

Sounds like an issue with Oblivion rather than NXE. If Oblivion allows you to create so many game saves, Oblivion should offer a good UI for cleaning up it's junk.

On the whole I hate it.

I'm so surprised that anyone can actually hate it! The old blades are just one button away at all times, and they've not lost any functionality, and they've only gotten zippier. And it doesn't have ads. So you have everything you want, a single button away, and wonderful eye candy on the other hand (you gotta admit it -- NXE is gorgeous). Best of both worlds! Not to mention, the sight of a bunch of avatars standing in a group (because they're in a party) is pretty cool. Very cool that you can just click on that group to see party options. And that for people who you game with regularly online you'll actually be able to recognize the avatars at a glance and get an idea of who's in the party -- rather than having to read a dry spreadsheet-looking list of friends. And from the cover-art, you know what the party is doing too. Super-cool.

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830415)

Halo tells you not to run it from the drive, because MS hadn't internally finalized the feature before Halo 3 went gold.

Halo 3 doesn't know what it is being run from, so it always copies files to the HDD. Which means.. it's copying from the HDD to the HDD. Which slows things down.

Bungie has a writeup here

http://www.bungie.net/News/Blog.aspx?mode=news#cid16252

Re:I love it but feel stupid for doing so (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830985)

The running games on the hard drive on the other hand was a letdown, as Halo immediately told me I should not be running the game off the HDD.

Halo was self-aware that it was running from the HDD? I had thought they'd sandboxed these things sufficiently to block that sort of storage awareness.

Though Microsoft has been very forthright with statements about the limited benefits of installing to the hard drive, honestly stating that load times will see little or no change (whether because the hard drive and it's bus is particularly slow, or the optical drive is very fast), however I ran out and stuck a hard disk drive on my so-cheap-I-had-to-buy-it (and have been amazingly impressed since. Despite generally being a Microsoft detractor, I am sold on this little box, and marvel what 3 year old technology can achieve graphically) Xbox Arcade-

  • Your unit is a lot quieter, which is obvious immediately. Purportedly it runs cooler as well (which I haven't measured
  • Your disc won't be gouged to hell if the unit is moved in any way, which is a known problem with the xbox 360. I accidentally moved mine (after it had sat for probably an hour doing "nothing", and I presumed was idle), to discover that it was still inexplicably spinning the GTA IV disc. Instantly the disc had its little polycarbonate guts eviscerated by the unforgiving head mechanism.
  • Possible way to "save" broken discs? (see below)

My GTA IV is currently unusable, and I'm too lazy and irritated to send it cross-border to Ohio (with all packaging), and all of the customs shizzle, paying $7.50 to get the disc replaced. With this new HDD install functionality I'm going to try renting GTA IV, installing it to the HD, and see if my b0rked copy is sufficient for the minimal copy protection check it does at the outset. [Crossing Fingers]

Thae marketplace is now ACTUALLY usable (5, Informative)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829965)

My god, someone at MS found the wonder of the alphabet!!!

Honestly, browsing to find DLC is now easy as you don't have to scroll through every game to find the game that you want, you just click on the letter then find the game. That, to me, is by far the NXE's best feature.

Nice small improvement (1)

kilauea (263775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25829987)

It's quite a nice refresh I think. Takes a little getting used to, and I know how people HATE doing that. But it's a useful update to IMO a not very important part of the console.

I mean ffs - you don't even see it if you boot up a disk!

Re:Nice small improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830025)

I mean ffs - you don't even see it if you boot up a disk!

Sure you do, just press the guide button while in the game or movie.

Re:Nice small improvement (1)

kilauea (263775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830101)

You don't *need* to do that though. You can play a game perfectly fine without ever noticing the update has occured is the point.

Re:Nice small improvement (1)

Frac O Mac (1138427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830037)

Actually they updated the guide menu (that you often interact with in nearly every game) and the addition of the cross-game party system was a very nice addition. But yes, it does take some getting used to.

I hated it. (5, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830063)

But I have to admit after 30mins or so of playing around, getting used to where everything had moved to and customising it it's growing on me.

The party system is a nice touch, being able to join a group voice chat with a bunch of friends then taking that group into whatever game you all decide to play is pretty cool. You can make parties private or public with the latter allowing you to jump into an existing party on your friends list, see what they're doing and join a game they may be playing.

Community games wasn't working right for me last night, but what I saw looked decent.

There's a few minor changes people have wanted for a while such as being able to remove zero achievement games such as trials you never went on to buy or games that turned out to be crap that would previously just clutter your achievements/played games list.

The avatar thing isn't bad, although it doesn't really seem to be overly useful yet, apparently the true extent of it's usefulness is still to come. Unfortunately my first attempt at creating an avatar ended up looking like Stalin, and the second like Hitler so I think we need more customization of them, I think this came down to there being a severe lack of shorter hairstyles, apparently Microsoft think 99% of the population have pony tails or just generally long hair whether male or female. Still I did come out with an avatar that looked fairly normal at the end of it but unfortunately as my friend pointed out you can't in fact have green skin.

It's certainly more responsive, some people complaining that now only one of the theme pics you bought gets used rather than one per blade and you can't choose which. I can see why this would be annoying for anyone that paid for a theme but also I can't help but snigger to myself that they were foolish enough to spend money on a theme in the first place.

Old gamerpics can still be used contrary to popular belief, you just have to change back to them after creating your avatar.

So right now to sum up, it's certainly not groundbreaking and it definitely doesn't do anything to make the experience worse. All the useful new features are nice, but nothing that couldn't have come in with the old dashboard whilst all the not-so useful new features such as avatar makes interesting fluff at least if nothing else. Effectively I think it's an attempt to reach out to female and casual gamers with this sort of stuff and the games that will use avatars which is fair enough and it doesn't really infringe on their hardcore gamer userbase either- they will at least appreciate the party system and just jump into game without ever really using the dashboard much. So yeah, good but not in any way groundbreaking, at least yet anyhow, maybe some of the up and coming avatar related stuff will be as cool as Microsoft are telling us or maybe it simply wont. As long as they don't try and make me run round with my avatar in Gears of War 2 or whatever I'll be happy!

Re:I hated it. (-1, Troll)

kilauea (263775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830113)

You spent 30 mins just arseing around with the dashboard? Why not stick a disk in and have a game - it's much more fun and leaves time for interacting with the world afterwards!

Crikey is this it then? The moment when the console does become more important than the games? Time to take up tennis or golf if it is...

Re:I hated it. (2, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830589)

Right, next time a new version of Linux/Windows/MacOS comes out that you upgrade do, DON'T spend time looking around the interface or playing with the new features - take up a new profession, instead!

Re:I hated it. (1)

cra (172225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830165)

As long as they don't try and make me run round with my avatar in Gears of War 2 or whatever I'll be happy!

I agree; that would be "The Big Suck", to quote Dizzy. It might be a good laugh for the first few seconds, though. I don't see how my avatar would fit in any of the games I've bought the last year, as they are all rated 18+. I can imagine that my kids would love to have "themselves" running around in *their* games, though.

Re:I hated it. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830627)

I don't think many devs will support avatars (or Miis on the Wii) because they want to follow their own art direction. I'm sure with the right design for the game the player's avatar wouldn't look out of place but that limits what the developer can do with the player's character (e.g. force a personality on it).

Re:I hated it. (1)

cra (172225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830685)

I agree, although I think quite a few of the platform kind of games could do just as well with a custom avatar as with Super Mario, Sonic, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger etc. Not that the games can't benefot from a specially made character, but kids would love having "themselves" running around.

Personally I currently only play games like GoW2, Fallout 3, Rainbow Six series and so on, and my avatar would most definately be out of place in any of those. (Perhaps with the exception of in the brochures, bobbleheads etc in Fallout 3. They are pretty cartoon-like already.)

Re:I hated it. (2, Interesting)

endemoniada (744727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830205)

Are you kidding? I would LOVE running around as bad-ass Marcus Fenix and blasting the crap out of all the whimpy new avatar-people. I would laugh all the way to hell :)

I've only played with the dashboard for half an hour, but I like it overall. It's fast, responsive and looks so much better than bland, 2D cardboard slides being pushed around on my screen.
The first thing I did was use the new "install game to harddrive" feature. Since I only have the 20GB harddrive, installing Gears of War 2 pretty much took up half the disk. Even so, I appreciated not having to listen to the DVD drive whine while playing.

I'm looking forward to trying out the party system as well, as soon as my lazy friends get their update and come online.

Re:I hated it. (1)

SplayedAsterisk (1351105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830319)

exactly. my favorite part of the nxe is the relative quiet of running a game from the hard drive. especially when playing at night when the game volume had to be down in order to not piss off the room mates, that roaring disc drive drove me up the wall. the netflix stuff is pretty nice too.

Re:I hated it. (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830389)

> As long as they don't try and make me run round with my avatar in Gears of War 2 or whatever I'll be happy!

er... feature cancellation request filed...

Great Update (5, Interesting)

lucas teh geek (714343) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830077)

I'd be really curious to know how they are able to release an update that adds some quite significant features without having to charge for the update. Every time Apple brings out new features on the iPhone, they charge iPod Touch owners for that same update claiming that the Sarbanes-Oxley act means they cant add the features for free (with some sort of contract loophole for the iphone ).

Perhaps Microsoft could let Apple know what their accountants are doing that Apple's cant figure out.

Re:Great Update (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830595)

It's simple - the cost of making the update is significantly lower than the estimated revenue gained from all the "casuals" who want an Avatar.

Re:Great Update (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830661)

Perhaps Microsoft could let Apple know what their accountants are doing that Apple's cant figure out.

Yeah, because Microsoft are well known for giving away stuff for free, rather than charging full price for what should basically be a patch (cough, Windows 7).

Point taken, however, that Apple are even worse for doing this, and kudos to Microsoft in this particular case for giving us something for free.

Re:Great Update (4, Informative)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25831025)

Microsoft does give a lot more away.

A more direct comparison would be Zune updates.

Someone who bought the first Zune has all of the functionality of the current Zunes...because the updates are free.

How much does each OS X update cost - vs. a Windows update/service pack?

Can't get it (2, Informative)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830111)

Unfortunately I bought the Arcade version of the xbox a few weeks ago, so have a pitiful 256mb of memory to play with. With all my saved games and a bare minimum of downloaded content, I have nowhere near 128mb free to get the new front end.

I know, I know, I can just buy a bigger card or HDD... but it just bugs me that a) the update doesn't write over the existing front end, and b) Microsoft has known the release date for this for a long time, but still sold the Arcade with inadequate storage.

Re:Can't get it (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830171)

The console with the HDD is 50€ more than the Arcade bundle, you really saved your money on the wrong end there.

I don't think the new frontend offers much for you anyway, it's more about all the downloadable stuff you can buy and installing games to your HDD so with just a memory card (nice feature if you have a game with annoying load times, still requires inserting the disc though) you probably don't have a use for it.

Re:Can't get it (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830199)

I think they had a promotion going with cheap hard drives for Arcade and Core system owners, though I may be wrong. If I had any choice at the time, I probably would have bought an Arcade or Core system, since a memory card would have been more than enough for my saved games; but I've since fallen victim to the marketing machine, and I regularly download demos and sometimes buy stuff with MS points.

On a side note, is it any coincidence that Microsoft share an acronym with a degenerative, terminal illness of the nervous system?

Re:Can't get it (5, Informative)

antonlacon (821983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830251)

Re:Can't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830243)

Microsoft has known about it for a long time yes. Thus they created an upgrade scheme for those who would have insufficient memory space.

http://www.xboxstorageupgrade.com/hh/web/home/hhauthentication.jsp

Based on your serial number and console id it will offer you what it can. I think if you had 256MB memory cart, they would give you a free 256MB, if you have a 256MB you get offered a refurbished 20GB for $25 AUD inc postage - however theres a bit of a wait on them.

...yes you can (5, Informative)

muel (132794) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830249)

Dude, Microsoft has been offering free memory cards and cheap hard drives to folks just like you: http://www.xboxstorageupgrade.com/ [xboxstorageupgrade.com] ... If your system's serial #/console id check out as "arcade," then MS will offer you a 20GB hard drive and 3 months of XBL Gold for $30. Not free, but not shabby, either.

Re:Can't get it (1, Informative)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830255)

You can get a very low cost reconditioned hard drive from Microsoft:

http://www.xboxstorageupgrade.com/ [xboxstorageupgrade.com]

I can't remember the details, but I seem to remember you can basically get a 20GB hard drive for £12.99 or something like that.

But yeah - it is weird that they're still selling the Arcade pack. My guess is that it's useful for them to have that £130 pricepoint. Also I guess there will be people who don't even have their Xbox networked and the Arcade version would suit them.

Re:Can't get it (3, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830611)

the update doesn't write over the existing front end

As a matter of fact, it does. The update comes in two parts - an 8Mb dash update and a 128Mb "content" update. The "content" update contains little more than the Avatars as far as I can tell, the dash update (which requires no extra space) contains everything else, including the interface. You can get by just fine with just this, but you wont be able to connect to live. Considering you only had 256Mb of storage, live was clearly never a priority to you, anyway.

Does it work on the train? (-1, Offtopic)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830133)

Wake me up when consoles can run on my morning commute. Until then I'll stick with a laptop. Simulation (flight, train, car), games (chess, battlefield 2, call of duty), movies and TV shows (DVD player), books and music. I have it all (so long as I have room to pull out the laptop)

My wife and I own PS/2s and they hardly get used. The idea of spending big to play these consoles doesn't appeal to me at all.

Re:Does it work on the train? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830209)

Why did you even bother to post then? If you're not interested in this update, what makes you think are people are interested in knowing that?

Re:Does it work on the train? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830377)

Wake me up when your laptop can make toast. Until then I'll stick with my toaster. And I bet you care about that just as much as I do about your opinion on the dash update.

Re:Does it work on the train? (2, Funny)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830489)

Are you referring to the Playstation 2 (PS2), or the old IBM system known as the PS/2 ?

If it's the latter as your post suggests, it's not surprising it hardly gets used...

Re:Does it work on the train? (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830635)

The comment at the end of your post made me laugh especially as you are currently modded Troll when offtopic would be more appropriate.
No one gives a shit about your families mobile gaming habits, even less so those who are reading articles about a completely unrelated subject.

Re:Does it work on the train? (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830701)

Then you're completely missing the point in a console...

I just got done making my new Mii (2, Informative)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830141)

Everyone says they "stole" the whole Mii concept from Nintendo, but Nintendo hardly invented the idea of a customizable avatar for interacting with the world. I was disappointed at the absence of a Vault-tec jumpsuit (or any set of overalls I could pretend was a Vault-tec jumpsuit) in the outfit section. I guess I'll have to buy one if I want it that badly. Also, clothes lack customizable colour as far as I can see. If you choose a shirt, and it happens to be red, you can't just change it to blue, you have to choose a blue shirt.

Re:I just got done making my new Mii (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830385)

I can see why, with the clothing colours. Otherwise everyone would use the Ring of Light T-shirt, and change it to a red one.

Re:I just got done making my new Mii (4, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830719)

Everyone says they "stole" the whole Mii concept from Nintendo, but Nintendo hardly invented the idea of a customizable avatar for interacting with the world.

No, Nintendo wasn't the first to use avatars. However, the ones they did make were fairly unique looking. Now Microsoft's look almost identical to them. If that's not ripping off the Mii, then I don't know what is.

Massively multiplayer online hardware failure (-1, Flamebait)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830231)

People can gather together for massively multiplayer games of Red Ring Of Death [wikia.com] !

(I've done the new Xbox 360 logo [today.com] .)

sound missing over hdmi (4, Informative)

masterQba (699425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830263)

There have been some reports of people having issues with missing sound when using HDMI. [google.com] I have the same problem and would like to give a heads up to anyone who is going to upgrade or had the same bug appear. To my knowledge there's no sure fire way of solving the issue. A workaround is possible by using a different sound output.

Re:sound missing over hdmi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830343)

I've only had that issue once, removing, and replacing the HDMI cable worked like a charm (just took it out and put it back in) I'm not sure what happened in the first place, just one day it wouldn't play any sound. Not saying this is the issue... but it worked for me.

Re:sound missing over hdmi (1)

masterQba (699425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830451)

it's been one of the things i tried but no dice... kinda sucks

Did Sony pull the selection or was it Netflix? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830267)

If Sony movies are not being streamed to the 360, it's probably because there was a clause in the original contract agreed to and signed by both parties that prohibits it. I can't blame Sony if they added a clause saying forbidding streaming content to a competing device covered by some kind of exclusivity deal. If true, it's smart and prescient of Sony to have done it considering Netflix then went and signed such a deal with Microsoft.

Re:Did Sony pull the selection or was it Netflix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830659)

Streaming rental video isn't going to shift PS3 units. It's not in their interest to restrict 360 owners from their content. It's probably a simple legal oversight that will be rectified in due course. Each territory will need addressing too.

Re:Did Sony pull the selection or was it Netflix? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830819)

You say its not in their interests, but clearly it is or they wouldn't have added such conditions.

I'm sure it sucks a lot if you want to stream movies without any of this BS, but this should not be unexpected. Netflix knew full well what they were signing to and must have been aware of the repercussions if they later signed an exclusivity deal with Microsoft. I'm sure their deal MS has all kinds of clauses and restrictions if Netflix decided to allow Netflix on the PS3.

This kind of contractual bullshit and DRM is always going to affect streaming platforms, especially when one of the players tries to moneyhat exclusivity. It's more proof if any more were required that digital downloads have a long way to grow up, including adopting a common platform for DRM and format, before they're going to get more widespread adoption.

I hate it (3, Interesting)

Spacelord (27899) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830271)

I applied the update yesterday, even though I wasn't wild about the screenshots I had seen so far. The announcements by Microsoft did however promise I could still use the old blade interface if I wanted, so I thought: why not give it a try?

The install went fairly smoothly, taking only a few minutes. Then I had to create an avatar *ugh*, this was my first turn-off. I've never been a fan of avatar systems, but if they're going to make it mandatory they could at least have thrown in some models that don't look childish and cartoonish. So I just selected some random character, hoping I could switch it off later.

Then I played around with the interface. It is fairly easy to figure out, and I could quickly find most functions I was looking for, however I couldn't help but think that the blade interface felt simpler, more intuitive and more mature. In the blade system, if you were looking for something, you just had to select the right tab and everything was available from there. In the new system, you have to navigate in 2 "dimensions", first select the right channel, then look for the right tab, then go into the tab. The blade system also made better use of screen real estate. A lot of screen space is wasted now because they chose to work with some kind of 3D representation.

After using it for a while other things started to annoy me. I find the color scheme rather ugly for instance. It's all dull grey or migraine inducing green and selecting a different theme doesn't seem to change it. The sound effects got on my nerves too, instead of the cool muted *swish* sounds of the old blade system, the new sounds are much more *bling bling* and in your face (I don't know how else to describe it). Then, there's no way to get rid of your avatar. It's not like it does anything useful, it just stands there looking silly and generally being an eyesore.

Then I started looking for new features. Netflix doesn't work outside of the US, so I couldn't use that. The install to HDD option could be handy, but I don't find it essential. The loading times never really bothered me that much anyway, it's having to switch discs when you want to play a different game that bothers me. To my disappointment no new video or audio codecs have been added, so some divx and mp4 files still don't play, there's still no support for 5.1 surround sound in divx files and still no support for subtitles. As a media player, it has not become more useful to me.

So after a few hours of playing around with it, I decided that I didn't like it, and I started looking for the option to revert to the old style interface. Only, there wasn't one! Sure, when you push the big X button a menu pops up that looks remotely like the old blades, but it's not fullscreen and in no way a replacement interface. Now I feel cheated.

My conclusion is that Microsoft spent way too much time and effort trying to invent a completely new interface, which in many ways is worse than the old system, when they could have just offered an upgraded blade system and spent all the time and effort on real features that are actually useful.

Re:I hate it (1)

greebowarrior (961561) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830395)

I concur. I much preferred the blades, the new 'experience' is far too fisher-price for my liking.

I installed the update with an open mind, and proceeded to explore. After roughly 30 seconds, my initial curiosity was replaced with anger.
The whole 3d panels interface isn't particularly intuitive, and my existing heroes theme looks like utter arse now, with over 70% of the artwork covered up by the pointless grey 'floor'
Hopefully, they'll give us an option of having the blades back in a future update.

It seems like the only point of the update was to get some use out of the money they'd spent on designing Aero/MCE

Re:I hate it (2, Insightful)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830467)

You weren't forced to make an Avatar. When I did my update, I wanted to get to test Netflix as quickly as possible, so I just pulled up the guide and exited out of the Avatar builder to the dashboard. Just like before with any other application.

You're complaining about having to do too many clicks around the interface? With the old blades, you had to cycle to the blade you wanted, say Marketplace, and then scroll down to the category you wanted. Same with the new system, but instead of moving through the categories horizontally, you scroll through them vertically and then choose your category or item by scrolling horizontally. Except now the categories and items are laid out in only two axes rather than having items scattered all through out the blade they were on. The layout is cleaner and more logical because of the changes.

MSFT didn't promise that they were keeping the blades. They specifically said that the NXE was to replace the blade system and that the blades would only be preserved in the Guide system.

The Avatars may be useless and silly, but really, an "eyesore"? Maybe you should make a better looking one?

I'm happy to finally have an OS that's responsive and allows me to scroll through and read descriptions for items quickly. I think you're a bit worked up over the idea of "change" so much that you can't see the improvements.

Re:I hate it (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830503)

When the avatar creation pops up, press the guide button, then Y. No avatard!

Re:I hate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830573)

avast! I'd never miss the opportunity of using the cartoonish fag avatar in fallout!

Re:I hate it (4, Interesting)

MMMDI (815272) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830727)

Here's some food for thought. I've had my Xbox for a couple of years now, and in that time, both the woman of the house and my daughter have had no interest in it. Sure, they watch me play every now and then, but that was really the extent of it.

Yesterday, they saw me playing around with the avatar. My wife then wanted to make her own avatar, which led to her getting her own account on my box, which further led to her checking out the arcade and buying a couple of games ("I didn't know they had Pac-Man! Frogger! Whoa!"). My kid, not content with her own account on my box, now wants one for herself for Christmas.

Funny how that silly little system brings in the casual crowd, eh?

Go to the top of the class ! (1)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830829)

Microsoft have been very, very clever with this update. Whereas previously, they were touting a high-def console as a loss-leader, they've now turned everything on its head and made the Live Experience itself the 'killer app'. As you point out, the avatars will pull in the casual crowd and the slickness of accessing the important parts of multi-player online games will make other systems appear very clunky by comparison.

If you want a great upscaling DVD player / BD player, go for the PS3. If you want a great gaming experience, get the Xbox. I never thought I'd find myself saying that !

Re:Go to the top of the class ! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25831129)

The 360 Elite upscales dvd's right out of the box, which is fine for the vast majority of consumers. So you could say the 360 is close to the complete entertainment system. I don't think Blu-ray is going to be around very long, before something better comes out anyway, so I don't see the point in buying a Blu-ray player when I can upscale regular dvds and it still looks awesome.

Re:I hate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25831093)

that's one hell of a well written troll you have there. so well written, in fact, you seem to have suckered some moderators into believing it's insightful. if only they could cut through overly verbose bullshit to see your complaining about having to pick an avatar (did having to choose a gamer pic traumatise you on the previous dash?), immaturity of the dash (let me guess, you're in late high school and trying to prove you're all grown up is important do you? you will grow out of it) and not liking the default colour (cry me a fucking river, pick another one), perhaps they would have modded you correctly: troll.

oh, and I have to ask you, you complain about the sounds on the new dash board leading me to think you're fussy about sound (fussier than me), but then completely ignore the biggest draw of installing to hdd; the lack of dvd drive noise. loading speed improvements are just an added bonus, being able to shut that jet engine of a dvd drive up is a feature that should have been there from day one... yet somehow you fail to even acknowledge it?

New Xbox "Experience", Eh? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830371)

So how *did* they manage to change the color of the "Ring Of Death" over the 'net?

I keed, I keed! :P

Strat

Where does this leave XBMC? (1)

Pugwash69 (1134259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830483)

Now they'll have to change MC360 for XBMC...

What's after NXE? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830583)

If this is the "NXE" system (the New XBox Experience) then what will it be when they re-engineer it again? The NNXE (the New NXE)? While NXE might look "cool" to some people, putting "New" in the branding of something isn't a great idea for the future!

Re:What's after NXE? (1)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830765)

Probably UXE. ULTIMATE XE.

The best new feature: 16:10 (5, Informative)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830743)

I was fully gung-ho as soon as I read I'd be able to run my 360 at my monitor's native resolution (1680x1050). Yes, it's letterboxed (very slightly), but I can finally play stuff at the proper aspect ratio, and without any excessive smoothing performed by the monitor itself.

Sony should be charged with something (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25830893)

It can't be right that Sony, a company that makes a competing game console, should also pull the entertainment content from one of the markets because that market allowed a competing game console in as well. This smacks of wrongness though I am sure sure it qualifies as anti-trust, they are certainly linking one completely different product/service offering to another as leverage against a competitor. There is something really broken about Sony's behavior.

Re:Sony should be charged with something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25830981)

Sony should be charged with something

I suggest you charge them with a pitchfork.

Re:Sony should be charged with something (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 5 years ago | (#25831087)

Somehow I feel that buying exclusives and preventing competition is far worse than denying access to some of your movies.

Hell, it probably would have been *easier* to make a PS3 interface, since it comes with a web browser and flash9 support.

My annoyance aside, I have no doubt if/when Netflix creates a PS3 interface, MS will influence some content to not play there.

On a side note, you noticed the "Order Dominioes from your TIVO" stuff? I am going to go ahead and predict a version of that for both the 360 and ps3.

DD install (1)

rreay (50160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25831083)

I don't really care if the HDD install make games load faster. I want them to run quieter. The XBox optical drive is loud.

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