The New Xbox 360 Experience In-depth Review

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On November 19, Microsoft released its new dashboard, dubbed "The New Xbox Experience". This free firmware update is mandatory for all consoles that connect to Xbox Live, and aims to redefine how users both use the Xbox and interact online. The new update completely overhauls the existing blade-style interface, moving to a much more flowing, intuitive design. It promises to keep and improve upon legacy features, while adding new content and functionality. Existing themes, gamer pictures, or backgrounds will work just fine in the new interface. However, the previous dashboard, which provided a mazelike jumble of movements to get to places of interest on each blade, has been replaced with smooth vertically revolving themes, with each expanding out horizontally for related content.

The new Xbox Experience promises a lot but does it truly deliver in both increased usability and speed? Let’s take a look at some of the features that have been revamped and added, and then we'll have a chat about what we think is still missing.

Avatars
WIth the new Xbox experience, users can now choose a custom avatar. The avatars, which are very reminiscent of the Nintendo Wii’s Mii portfolio, provide each user with a highly customizable character. There are quite a few initial options, however, there is a degree of rigidity in how you can individually tailor each choice.  The avatar system also hints towards future clothing and customizable apparel micro transactions. Making an Avatar was very easy, starting with a choice of basic body types:

After choosing a body type you are presented with options to change features, clothes, take a picture, start from scratch, or accessorize.

You can change 9 major features: hair, eyes, eyebrows, ears, nose, freckles, mouth/teeth, and chin/neck. In each feature, you have a plethora of options. For hairstyles, there were over 90 male and female options.

 

As you move around to different options your customization appears in real time, so you can preview all of the styles quickly. Some styles look the same at first glance; however, usually the changes are in the back, such as pony-tails for example. To see these changes, a mirror appears to show you your full profile.

 

After you’re done, you can snap a shot of your virtual self and upload it online to copy to your hard drive or anywhere else you please. The avatar is also presented next to your gamer tag in your profile, and anywhere your virtual self could interact with others, such as in the friends list.

The incorporation of avatars is clearly an effort by Microsoft to gain entrance into the casual and younger gamer circles.  With the wealth of options for customization, it will surely appeal to many and give the Xbox another layer of interactivity all together.

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ice_73:
you trade off hard drive space and the 10-20 min install to save about 1-2 seconds on load times? doesnt exactly make it better.

It just helps with overall gameplay -- you don't have to wait 60 seconds for new levels to load as its almost instantaneous....checkpoints are instant instead of having to wait a few seconds per checkpoints within these levels.

My Xbox Elite has 120GB HDD that isn't being used for anything else so really (maybe 10GB worth of music and maybe 10 more of games/saves...why not? As you say it helps with spin-up noise and again with gameplay so I see it as a win all around.

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One of my games sees loading times cut in half. It's game dependent, but boy is it awesome when it does help.

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Very good, very strong
Very yellow, very violent

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Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

XBOX 360 is obviously very popular among kids as well as adults. I just wanted to know the configuration of the latest version coming up.

 

Regards,

ServicedotZtronics

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What do you mean by configuration?  Do you mean the next update to the Xbox experience?

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No, not the next update but I am asking about the configuration of the latest XBOX 360 version.

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So you mean what models are offered?

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Exactly, that's what I was asking. What models are offered?

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Microsoft Xbox 360 sucks! I got fraud in my account, so I called the customer server to fix this issue, but they don't know how to answer it... It's just very atrocious!

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