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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Comments
3vi1 6 years ago

NEWSFLASH:  Microsoft innovates / copies Wii.  PlayStation Home beta testers say "How cute."

Dave_HH 6 years ago

Hahaha! You are definitely 3vi1

3vi1 6 years ago

Thanks, I try.

BTW... Home *does* rock, though I won't say anymore because it might violate NDAs I didn't read in my rush to try it out.

The XBox revamp failed to capture my attention. I created my person, went through the menus, then said "oh well" and turned it off.

ice_73 6 years ago

i just wish i still had my 360 to try this out. though it does seem to just be a blend of the wii and the ps3 home.

Crisis Causer 6 years ago

The most important feature is copying games to the HDD.  The Xbox 360 spinning the DVD at 12x is as loud as a vacuum cleaner (no exaggeration).  Playing games with no DVD spinning is nice.  Loading is also improved in certain games, but not all.  Consider faster loading a bonus to the real benefit of more silence.

bob_on_the_cob 6 years ago

[quote user="Crisis Causer"]The most important feature is copying games to the HDD.[/quote]

If you can afford the XBox 360 hard drives. This is the coolest feature though. Makes the 360 much not as loud and improves loading. I wonder if this will hurt the copy protection?

ice_73 6 years ago

actually from what ive read, the loading times barely improve especially considering the time it takes to install a game. plus the ps3 had this for a long time.

it does improve noise though. no arguing about that.

ice91785 6 years ago

[quote user="ice_73"]

actually from what ive read, the loading times barely improve especially considering the time it takes to install a game. plus the ps3 had this for a long time.

it does improve noise though. no arguing about that.

[/quote]

I copied Gears of War 2 in about 10 mins if that....also I noticed RIGHT away that load points in the game were instantaneous after. I love it.....

As far as copy protection, I don'tthink it will be an issue as you still have to have the disc in the drive before being able to load the game.

 

 

tanka12345 6 years ago

It looks like a cheap, Wii rip-off! Angry

ice_73 6 years ago

[quote user="ice91785"]

[quote user="ice_73"]

actually from what ive read, the loading times barely improve especially considering the time it takes to install a game. plus the ps3 had this for a long time.

it does improve noise though. no arguing about that.

[/quote]

I copied Gears of War 2 in about 10 mins if that....also I noticed RIGHT away that load points in the game were instantaneous after. I love it.....

As far as copy protection, I don'tthink it will be an issue as you still have to have the disc in the drive before being able to load the game.

 

 

[/quote]

perhaps more recent titles are optimized for the install. i read in lots of places that games dont improve load times too much, but they tested older games afaik. gears is the hallmark of the 360, and epic works closely with ms so it would of been better optimized to take advantage of nxe. 

im not saying that installing games on the xbox is useless, it does eliminate noise and that is great, but what i am saying is that people expect far better load times and it isnt common. 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. though if you want to eliminate noise this is the way to go!  

ice91785 6 years ago

[quote user="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.[/quote]

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.

Crisis Causer 6 years ago

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

qglfnt 5 years ago
Very good, very strong
Very yellow, very violent
gamemaniac 5 years ago

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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

mentaldisorder 5 years ago

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

gamemaniac 5 years ago

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

mentaldisorder 5 years ago

So you mean what models are offered?

gamemaniac 5 years ago

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

dlim783 4 years ago

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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