E3 2008: New Xbox Experience Preview

Microsoft has revamped the Xbox 360. Check out what's going to change!

Microsoft's not content. Despite ostensibly having one of the best user interfaces of all the major consoles, Microsoft is reinventing the Xbox 360's look. The underlying Xbox Live foundation will remain the same, but Microsoft wants to make life even better for users by making existing features easier to find and use, decluttering the marketplace, and vastly improving the social experience of Live.

New Xbox Experience Guide Blades Windows Media Center

The first major change to the system involves basic navigation. The top-level channels now consist of six items that closely resemble the menu structure of Windows Media Center: Spotlight, Games, My Xbox, Primetime, Community, and Videos. Each option contains additional functionality in submenu options and contains major innovations that we'll detail below.

Users who are familiar with the traditional five-bladed menu structures will be relieved to find that the old system remains intact--they appear whenever you press the Guide button on the gamepad. Pressing the button pops up a miniature version of the original blade system. The new miniblades will be accessible anywhere, even while in a game.

Primetime

The 100 The 1

Microsoft is banking heavily on its new Primetime feature, a brand-new area that gives users a whole new way to play games together. Virtual gameshows are the name of the game here. Microsoft has already demonstrated 1 vs. 100, a game of mental king of the hill against a hundred other opponents. Microsoft will introduce other gameshow-related games to Primetime. Some events will even feature live hosts and offer prizes to keep the gameshow charm. Primetime will let you either participate in the action as a competitor or play along silently as a spectator.

Videos

Netflix Instant Queue Videos

Microsoft has partnered with a number of content providers to provide thousands of hours of additional content in the Xbox Live video section.

Microsoft announced at E3 2008 that content from Netflix will be viewable via Xbox Live for Xbox Live Gold members. The deal allows users who subscribe to Netflix to watch movies and TV shows saved in their Netflix Instant Queue on their Xbox 360. You will have to visit the Netflix Web site to add or remove titles from your Instant Queue. Any Instant Queue adjustments you make through the Web browser will automatically update on the Xbox 360 within seconds.

Netflix currently offers more than 10,000 movies and TV shows available for instant viewing. Video playback will stream at near DVD quality, and users will also be able to rate movies they've watched via Xbox Live.

Content from companies such as NBC Universal, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, SCI FI Channel, USA Network, Constantin, and MGM will also populate the video marketplace. Videos will be available for purchase in either standard definition or high definition.

The user interface overhaul will also improve video navigation. Staggering the video thumbnails/box covers will make finding content much easier.

Community

Microsoft added a community channel to make socializing easier. The new channel lets you quickly find your friends, see what they're doing, and then make it easy to join in on the action. New community features will let you gather into parties and find new activities to do together. LiveParty allows up to eight users to band together with shared voice and text chat. Everyone in the group shares the same communication channels while playing games, watching movies, or participating in other events. If some users switch to a game that others in the party don't own, the group will still stay in communication with one another in the LiveParty.

MyXbox

MyXbox Themes

The MyXbox section will give you a central location to edit personal items. From here you'll be able to add pictures, edit your profile, and view your achievements. Microsoft will also institute a new medal system so you can show off your most recent achievements. Medals are basically graphical representations of achievements, kind of like graphical badges or trophies.

Microsoft also decided to get into the personalization fray with user avatars. Much like how you can create Miis on the Nintendo Wii and user avatars in Sony's PlayStation Home, 360 users will be able to create virtual representations of themselves in Xbox Live. The MyXbox channel will let you customize your avatar's body, hair, and clothing style. Currently all avatar graphics are being designed by Microsoft's Rare Ltd. studio. Microsoft indicated that many aspects of avatars will remain free, but upcoming content might include premium content for options such as clothing.

In addition to simply looking pretty and providing an avenue for user expression, avatars will also be usable in upcoming games. Microsoft indicated that many third-party developers are excited at the prospect and are eagerly adopting the new feature. Future game achievements may also unlock upgrades such as new outfits for your avatar.

Games and Spotlight

Games Storefront Featured Games Viva Pinata

The Games channel will let users easily find games to purchase and explore. You'll be able to find demos, full downloads, and game previews.

The Spotlight channel serves as a simple way to access what is essentially the most popular or important stuff on Xbox Live. The channel will have links to the hottest games, events, videos, and whatever else Microsoft wants to put in front of you. The system will be updated frequently to help users discover new and interesting content.

One of the not-so-cosmetic changes in the fall update will be the ability to let you play your games directly from the hard disk. The new feature will let users install all of the game content directly onto the hard drive to improve game load times. Microsoft reports that it has seen a 30 percent improvement in load times in internal testing. As an interesting data point, Microsoft went out of its way to tell a group of reporters that the full Devil May Cry 4 hard disk installation took roughly 10 minutes on the Xbox 360. The installation took twice as long when we conducted our own installation tests on the PlayStation 3. Another side benefit of having games installed on the hard disk is reduced noise, since the optical disc no longer needs to spin up. However, you will still need to have the game disc in your optical drive while you're playing it, presumably as a piracy check.

The new Xbox experience is certainly turning out to be a colossal achievement. The update could easily qualify as a new software product with the number of features and improvements it brings to the Xbox 360. We look forward to testing out all the new upgrades when Microsoft rolls out the update this fall.

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Discussion

1546 comments
Fool619
Fool619

I cant believe that ppl think NXE is like ps3 how the crap is it like ps3, ps3 chatting sucks and just cuz they have avatars dosent mean they copied miis the avatars on 360 look better than miis so whoever thinks that can just shut up cuz they dont know crap

huggy_bear64
huggy_bear64

november 19, silly, srsly, pay attention...

F3l1P3
F3l1P3

4 days left.. :3

F3l1P3
F3l1P3

As far as i've heard this i'll be out this september 30 so is the next tuesday, get ready, well i hope is that date or i'll get piss out T___T i hope it improves all the performance of the console :) maybe it can fix the 3 lights of dead, none has said that is hardaware maybe is the software.. maybe not XD well i haven't got it since i send it to repair :)

IMDLEGEND
IMDLEGEND

I think its cool, but I think that people should have a choice between the classic and new options.

malxmusician212
malxmusician212

ok, this loox hella awesome, but if ur like 'i like my 360 how it is' then WATCH THE MICROSOFT PRESENTATION' or one of the interviews because i remember the person saying 'you have the ability to NOT take the download' and if u have to pay for it and u want it, pay for it, it goes to microsoft games so that they can make MORE video games. If u don't want it, decline it or don't pay.

f3aRl3sS_dRaGoN
f3aRl3sS_dRaGoN

They Will Charge For Dis Cause They Charge For Everything!:@

hotplayer220
hotplayer220

I see Mii's. I see a Company trying anything to get market share back. I like my 360 the way it is.

cute_gurl233
cute_gurl233

its somethinh like ps3 yes, but sorta not. the ps3 has bad chat interfaces lagging while soicializing but its well organized im gonna have to say this is a copy of ps3 chat and stuff but far more improved

CLOWNKID
CLOWNKID

what month does this come out

lyhthegreat
lyhthegreat

I hope they dont try to charge us for all these new upgrades..

xtremeflem2day
xtremeflem2day

Microsoft can be good at cheating like this, thats why they are the best company. I have an xbox 360 and its pretty good, 500000x better than the wii but PS3 is about the same. I wish microsoft would stop doing unfair things just for the sake of their fat ass paycheck.

blobert1
blobert1

its just a load of stuf stolen from ps3 and wii. Cant they at least come up wiv somethin decent

Gogetenks_IV
Gogetenks_IV

Even the induction of the mini blades system at the press of a button is a copy of the PS3's latest update that allows you to bring up its interface at anytime (even during gameplay) when you press the PS button. The installation of games onto the hard drive was also used by PS3 first, and the avatars are a ripoff of the wii's mii in an attempt to counter Home. But I'm not saying anything any system stealing. All companies borrow from each other, its common sense. Take what works and ditch what doesn't, that's the first thing you'll learn about business, give people what they want and like. duh.

Gogetenks_IV
Gogetenks_IV

It's the same basic concept of the PS3's. Taking your main categories as leveled icon's that, when highlighted, show sub levels of information instead of just everything sitting on top of each other, they just put pictures in the icons, made them bigger, and tiled the icons so it appears to fade. Even having a customizable background was on the PS3 adn PSP first. If you can't see how they look alike then you're either retarded or don't know what the PS3 and PSP UI looks like.

patriotism101
patriotism101

NibbleZ_Killa How is it like the ps3, it isn't anything like it, The ps3 has the worst interface I've ever seen. I dont know much about the wii, but I dont care to much for Nintendo. But the new design looks way better, and 1 vs. 100 looks awesome, been playing the online pc version and cant wait to try it out on xbox, should be way better.

NibbleZ_Killa
NibbleZ_Killa

looks like they ran out of ideas so they copyed ps3 and wii dam so sad tht u 360 guyz dont say any thing about how sad it is. ur just so happy tht there 360 is going 2 be repaired soon dam.......wat 2 say

William003
William003

What about our gamerpics we baught and downloaded already?

BorkaBonum
BorkaBonum

This is fantastic. All you negos are so upset with the blades, they're still there in the Xbox Guide. The Avatars isn't all that unique, but is a interesting take from the success of Nintendo Mii's (don't go on about stealing or anything, Nintendo wasn't the first with costumizable low-polygon characters). The hottest thing has to be the ability to install games on the harddrive, that'll make everything much more discret. And obviously this requires the disc to be in the unit at all time to verify. And another thing is the ability to play on PC Monitors with HDMI at native resolutions, this is a huge success and makes it possible to achieve above HD-monitors for only a fourth of the price.

ZarBlayda
ZarBlayda

why? if your going to come out with new stuff that cool. but dont make it look like you tried to hard. im sure you tried hard. but dont make it look that way. thats why most people are saying that microsoft copied PS3 and wii. and you have to admit. those avatars do look suspiciously familiar. and i dont think they should be called themes. more like background. changing the whole veiw of the menu and icons is a theme. the piracy thing i understand. but i would completely buy a 360 if you could take the disk out in the middle of a game. you need the disk to start but if a friend is over you can hand him the disk of a game that he doesnt have and maybe play a game together without split screen.

eddievh_5150
eddievh_5150

Bad bad bad bad idea. I LOVE the blades. Why can't this be optional?

iesexywarden
iesexywarden

this looks like mii's mixed with an xmb....

gbox1273
gbox1273

will it be available for download if u hav the old 360 that has the blade system?

JazzNick67
JazzNick67

Don't fix what isn't broken, Microsoft.

Ogachi
Ogachi

I have to say... I own all systems and will not blame the xbox for stealing anything. But I agree with Lord Kantor completly, Microsoft is trying to follow up playstation home by doing a taller mii design and playstation menu look. And really...I really dislike this. One you can only see half of your already reduced theme, ecspecially if you use custom themes. Over all, I think it's a bad idea.

Lord_Kantor
Lord_Kantor

This is an attempt by Microsoft to catch up with Home. It isn't going to work. This is closer to a copy of the Wii with taller people than anything else. The Xbox is making a fool of itself by trying to be all happy and fun. The 360 and PS3 are designed for real gamers who want to sit down, relax, and play GTA/Gears of War/Resistance. This isn't going to make anybody buy a 360, but then Home won't really make anyone buy a PS3. The only way "New Xbox Experience" (pray that that's a codename)will overtake Home is if microsoft doesn't delay NXE for one and a half years. Stick to what you're good at, Microsoft- making good online games with plenty of violence and stop trying to copy other consoles. Also, we call it autumn everywhere except America. It's not a northern/southern hemisphere thing.

Hypereagle
Hypereagle

by the way winter starts Dec. 12 this year

Hypereagle
Hypereagle

Look around Halloween the first update happened 2 days prior to Halloween I say the update is 2 months away October 16

Smoolander
Smoolander

@ joshllama Believe it or not, winter in the northern hemisphere actually starts on the 1st December. I know it's a difficult concept, but that means Dec 4 would not be in the fall (what is called autumn in the southern hemisphere - presumably because southern hemisphere does not have to dumb it down.)

Smoolander
Smoolander

@ joshllama Believe it or not, winter in the northern hemisphere actually starts on the 1st December. I know it's a difficult concept, but that means Dec 4 would not be in the fall (what is called autumn in the southern hemisphere - presumably because southern hemisphere does not have to dumb it down.)

Ahkarisazael
Ahkarisazael

I'm just hoping they roll this out before GoW2 releases...otherwise I may have to divide my time, and that would suck.

Lifeshifter
Lifeshifter

Im excited about this all but the installing games thing, PS3 has that feature and I hate it! I like the fact Xbox you can just put the disk in and play is awesome and they are taking that away for the newer games.....booooo but otherwise I like every other feature of this including the Netflix deal and the fact you can watch a movie with someone over the net, that part is awesome!

donteffwitme
donteffwitme

Xbox is actually going to do something important with the avatars and screw home because it is actually what were getting except with a pretty bow on it.

CalmNMellow
CalmNMellow

the avatars are gonna be a bit weird, but im optimistic about the whole thing

joshllama
joshllama

for your information tomsdabest92 Dec 4 is in fall.

Scubasteve513
Scubasteve513

Boo, avatars. If I had wanted a wii, i would have gone out and bought a wii.

anto831
anto831

dude r they tring to copy ps3 home cuz da comunity page looks wak and home will be way beter tough i do give it up 360 and halo, man only if ps3 had halo, i had a xbox and halo 2 one of the best games ever, man even beter than metal gear solid 4

tomsdabest92
tomsdabest92

(joshllama:If I'm corect i heard that the update is avalible Dec 4. But you never know) the update is out in fall not winter anyway this looks mint i must say its cool that the 8 way chat thing is finaly comeing but over all i looks mint

SlickRick0007
SlickRick0007

To redefine a system after it's been out for about 2 years is rididculously sweet. It's going to feel like taking your xbox out the box for the first time. I LOVE IT!!!

KillaB123
KillaB123

it all looks good but im iffy on the avatars still I guess.

wayo_93
wayo_93

The use of installing games is cutting load times.

joshllama
joshllama

If I'm corect i heard that the update is avalible Dec 4. But you never know