360 dashboard update detailed--and demonstrated

[UPDATE] Fresh coat of features added to Microsoft's next-gen console; download manager, dashboard startup, camera functionality among changes. Full video demonstration inside!

Though the Xbox 360 has only been on the market for just over six months, the console is getting its first major facelift. Microsoft today announced the first of what it hopes will be biannual major updates to the console's functions and user interface.

The Xbox 360 spring platform update does not have an official release date yet, but Microsoft hopes to have it ready for download over Xbox Live about a week from today. The update is the first considerable change to the 360 since its launch in November 2005 and is largely based on consumer feedback.

[UPDATE] As shown in the extensive video demonstration below, many of the changes focus on making things easier to find when navigating the "blades" interface or downloading content on Xbox Live Marketplace. A new Media and Entertainment category has been added to the Marketplace menu, which features options to search for movie trailers and short films, television promos, music videos, and others instead of lumping them all together.

The other Marketplace categories have also been revamped. For example, game demos can be searched by genre, themes and gamer pictures have their own section, and game videos (that is, trailers) have been properly separated from movie trailers.

While 360 users have adored the ability to download content onto their machines, they've hated being pinned to the download screen, unable to perform any other activities during the process. The new download manager will allow up to six downloads to be queued up and prioritized, freeing gamers to continue browsing, playing music, or get some gaming in. Lag in online play shouldn't be a factor with background downloading. Once an online session is initiated, all downloads will pause, opening up bandwidth for the game. Once the player leaves the online game, downloading will resume.

When a download is complete, the content can be immediately accessed or applied. Just downloaded a trailer for BioShock? No need to navigate back through the menus like before--just select "play" when the notification comes up. Themes can also be instantly applied, rather than sifting through one's personal settings.

Other updates to the various media functions of the 360 include fast forward or rewind capabilities (up to 16x speed) in Marketplace videos, improved data retrieval for names of CDs and individual tracks, and the ability to resume playback on a DVD from where it was last stopped.

Sometimes, 360 owners just want to unwind with a game of Geometry Wars Evolved or listen to some tunes, but when powering on the machine, the game that was in the drive boots up. Not anymore. Gamers will have the option of setting the 360's default startup to the dashboard or whatever disc is in the drive.

The system's online functions will also have a few extras, as well. Now when a gamer is idle, it will say so on players' friends lists. There will also be an option to have separate gamer pics for friends and the general public. Presumably, this is gearing up for the compatibility with the Xbox 360 camera peripheral, which is supported by this update even though it won't be released until this fall. Until then, gamers can use available pics.

Though the update sounds like it will take up a large chunk of space, it doesn't require a single byte on the hard drive. It actually doesn't need a hard drive at all. The update is flashed to the 360's internal hardware and won't be stored on the hard drive, making it compatible with either SKU of the Xbox 360. It will initially be available online and may be available on disc further down the road.

Microsoft is already at work on a fall update, which the company says will be even more robust and will include more features.

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Discussion

440 comments
BounceDK
BounceDK

new flash player is the suckage

stephen_360
stephen_360

i agree let the y button be used to open and close the disc tray, seen as the y button has no use on the dashbord.

Cook66
Cook66

I bought my 360 on the day of the release of this so I have never seen anything else.. :P

munceenuts
munceenuts

Sweet. The one thing I noticed that I liked is that you can download mutiple things and are now able to do other stuff while they're downloading. I hated sitting at the download screen.

MADVLAD123
MADVLAD123

I just got the update...it is really great that now I can play oblivion while downloading hitman demo...im really impressed...and yea some of the new dashboard categories really helps me sort and find new things...its the little things that count MS...GOOD WORK!....I have this suggestion though for next updates...let me open the tray with my controller...the "y" button isnt used for anything on the front dashboard...let it be for that!

devilscry
devilscry

Who said? it was supposed to be the end of last or begining of this week. they never gave exact date, what makes you say by the end of this week?

devilscry
devilscry

i figured it'd be today....but they're just going with this whole "late" thing, come on already

baka8491
baka8491

When is this going to be availible

tomyte05
tomyte05

i heard that this is automatic update.when u connect via xbox live update will run auto

tomyte05
tomyte05

i hope that on friday is good day to celebrate..DASHBOARD UPDATE :) i hope

Zoiad32
Zoiad32

I agree with "allsaintman" and I too would like to know if you guys are going to release the update any day soon. WHEN???

allsaintman
allsaintman

OK, so the first deadline was missed (23rd May), then when this video was put up on 27th May, they said a week from now, which would mean the new release date would be 3rd June. Its now the 5th of June. Hurry up already, I want active downloading. Oh and downloading demo's in 30 mins? I wish.

macleod_2024
macleod_2024

I assume its not out yet, anyone with any idea when? I assume it is going to be an automatic update?

tomyte05
tomyte05

when when when ???!!!??? please smth reply

lonewolf_dx
lonewolf_dx

This udate is going to be great, shows MS really does care about their consumers.

Sesshomarux88
Sesshomarux88

im glad this was posible and im happy for mi and lots of gamers

roktrman8
roktrman8

Is this seriously not out yet!!!!!!!! I thought it would be out on Friday or Thursday, but I don't have it yet!! I hope that HoopEE is right about when it comes out because I really need the changes on my Xbox 360. So yeah!!

condemned100
condemned100

this new download is great can't wait to see it in action

HoopEE
HoopEE

Should be Monday from the looks of it.

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

Yayyyyyy background downloading!

chingstar
chingstar

Has anyone got this new update on their 360 yet

VZA
VZA

what's so great about it?

pomminator
pomminator

when is it going to be released? I havent found it anywhere yet and i assumed it would download automatically, since it hasnt and is nowhere on xbl marketplace it mustnt be out, am I right? no didnt think so

Ginomebhoy
Ginomebhoy

Great news cant wait. Well done microsoft.

Mercenary-X
Mercenary-X

Yeah, I wonder when this'll drop...I'm anxious to have this update.

xpdude
xpdude

Really great stuff :)

eunicom
eunicom

sounds like some much needed changes will finally be made. yay!

element42090
element42090

wow...that means marketplace downloads will rise and microsoft will have the most downloaded content ever...well, kinda

Chromeo_basic
Chromeo_basic

Where is the update?!?!? I want it NOW! It should be dropping this week right?

leeacarrillo
leeacarrillo

I am guessing DrMario57 doesn't own an xbox 360 and doesn't know how irritating those little problems Microsoft fixed can be.

DrMario57
DrMario57

look at all you guys, you all very excitied with one update. OMG just think if mircosoft makes ANOTHER... ANOTHER!!!!! update... what next year? you all might be having oragisms... jezzz some people

Astrodude_5
Astrodude_5

I love being able to do stuff while your things downloads. I like being able to download demos but it takes forever and your 360 just sits there using electricity. This is good news. It seems like everything is the same way you'd design it.

pyroguy305
pyroguy305

thank goodness... now if only M$ will stop charging for EVERY LITTLE TINY THING!!!!!! Who is gonna pay for a picture that ppl will associate with your name? unless u just got more money than u know what to do with.

lee291
lee291

it would be so ace to see the Ps3 go down the drain lol die SONY scum

G-Blunted
G-Blunted

This is good....because XBox 360 is what i want to buy...now there's even more incentive!

DrKill09
DrKill09

When I watched the video, I laughed when the one guy said "The demo's take a while to download. So with the download manager, you won't have to stare at the download screen for 30 minutes anymore" 30 minutes?!!! Takes me 6 hours to get a demo. The download manager is what I am most looking forward to. I used to set auto off on the console, and let it download over night, but now I won't have to. I'll be downloading a lot more cause of this.

OPOLO
OPOLO

I can't wait

rootATdarkstar
rootATdarkstar

I'm happy to see that Microsoft is listening to feedback from players. This update addresses I few issues that I myself have had with my 360 since purchasing it a few months ago.

LiK
LiK

best news ever

vamroc
vamroc

Wow That HEX Box 360 just keeps getting better. I'm down loading the Hitman: Blood Money demo right now and can't wait to play it. Has anyone noticed how much the PS3 looks like a coffin. I mean it really if you look at it long enough you want to throw dirt on it and tell a buyer I'm sorry for your loss.