E3 2008: The New Xbox Experience & Fall Dashboard Update
Written Monday, July 14, 2008 By Jason Debelyak
For those of you that watched the Microsoft Press Conference, you were probably as blown away as I was by what they had in store. Not only were the games showcased absolutely fantastic, but they revealed something very big coming to us later this year. Released during the Fall Update this year, we will get an entire new Xbox Live experience with a completely revamped Dashboard. What does this Dashboard mean to our Xbox Live experience? Keep reading to find out every single detail that was revealed during the press briefing, as well as some details that weren't mentioned.
Avatars - Very reminiscent of the Wii's style of Mii, the Xbox 360 is taking a step in personalizing your Xbox Live experience. Each member of Xbox Live will have their very own Avatar which will be personally customized by the individual. These look to take the place of your gamer picture to give you a new identity on Xbox Live. Here are some brief details regarding this new feature:
- Certain titles will have your Avatar inserted directly into the game.
- Personalize your avatar completely, from their hair to their clothes.
- Your Friends List will show all of your friends Avatars.
- In the Community Channel, all of your friends online will be shown with their corresponding Avatar.
- You can potentially win items from certain games to be used on your Avatar.
Party System - One of the most talked about improvements we have wanted to see was a way to have more than two people in a voice chat at a time. What did Microsoft do to answer this? They went above and beyond to bring us a new way of interacting with our online friends. These are just some of the features that we know about with the upcoming party system:
- Supports up to eight people at a time.
- Voice chat, share photos, watch movies, play games, and much more with your online friends.
- Netflix subscribers will have access to 10,000+ movies and tv shows streamed through Xbox Live. You are able to share these videos and watch them with your party.
- Do everything with your party. You will be able to seamlessly change from playing a game to sharing photos without ever leaving your party.
- Works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games.
Xbox Live Primetime - A completely brand new and creative item being added to your Xbox Live experience is Xbox Live Primetime. Many more details about this intriguing feature will be revealed in the future, but here is what we know so far:
- Play along with the entire Xbox Community in popular game shows, as well as other yet to be seen games.
- Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Endemol, who is responsible for popular shows such as Big Brother, 1 vs. 100, Deal or No Deal, and Fear Factor.
- 1 vs. 100 will launch alongside Primetime, in which you can take the role of the 1 or the 100 in answering trivia questions. Avatars will be used in-game.
- Games will include everything that XBLA and Retail Games would have, including Achievements and Leaderboards.
- You'll play the games in real-time, so everyone will be answering each question at the same time.
- Some shows will even feature a live host.
- The ability to win real prizes.
Xbox Live Community Games - Also launching this Fall is Xbox Live Community Games, which is the channel for the user-created games from their XNA software. We got a small taste of some of these creations earlier this year and were quite impressed with some of them. A few of the games shown include Colosseum, Hot Potato, and Word Soup. We're not sure yet whether or not these games will include achievements, but we'll be sure to let you know any details when we find out.
Play games directly from your Hard Drive - Yes, you heard that correctly. Just after the announcement of the new 60 GB model, they make the announcement that you'll be able to actually copy an Xbox 360 game directly to your Hard Drive and play it from there. Don't think you'll be able to rent a game, throw it on your Hard Drive, and be able to play it whenever you want. You'll still need the Xbox 360 disc in your drive to play the game. So, pointless, right? Not at all. Your disc drive won't spin at all, which could add a longer lifetime to your console, but most importantly, it will drastically cut down on load times.
Download from the Marketplace on Xbox.com - You will now be able to access and make all purchases from the Xbox Live Marketplace directly from Xbox.com. Once you do so, it will download directly to your console. If you're not home and want to download a movie or game so it'll be ready when you're ready to watch or play it, just browse to Xbox.com and download it. Pretty nifty.
Xbox Guide Support - Upon seeing the new interface of the Dashboard, you might be crying that you'll no longer have the blades that you've come to know and love. Don't worry, they're not going away. You'll now be able to access these at any time with the use of your guide button. What does this mean? You'll be able to access everything while you're in game. Playing some Gears of War 2 but decide you want to play an XBLA game for a bit? You'll be able to launch it directly instead of going all the way back to the Dashboard.
VGA Display Support - In addition to the 1080p via HDMI that they instituted awhile back, you will now be able to get resolutions of 1440x900 or 1680x1050 through VGA or 16x10 with HDMI or VGA.
Now, that's not everything that will be included in the Xbox Experience update that we will be seeing later this year. This is just the details that they wanted us to know about, and we're positive that we will be seeing more juicy details as the update draws closer. What else would you guys like to see? Post all comments below on these incredible new details.
Thanks to Majornelson.com for all details that weren't revealed at the 2008 E3 Microrosoft Press Conference.