Xbox 360 fall update detailed

Microsoft to begin discount XBLA program for older games, include a news ticker on the dashboard, and more in next week's system firmware release.

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Microsoft has been trickling out details about its fall firmware update for the Xbox 360 in recent weeks. The first new feature announced was a family timer that would limit playtime on the console to a set amount of time every day or week. That was followed by the introduction of Xbox Originals, downloadable versions of games from Microsoft's original console that would sell for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15) each. Another feature mentioned would allow gamers to see their friends' friends lists.

Today the publisher spilled a few more details about the fall update, which it will make available beginning December 4 at 2 a.m. Pacific. The biggest new feature revealed is the Xbox Live Arcade Hits program, which will see older games on the downloadable-game service permanently discounted. The first wave of Arcade Hits was also detailed. Bankshot Billiards 2 and Lumines LIVE! will both be marked down to 800 Microsoft points ($10) from 1,200 Microsoft points ($15), whereas Marble Blast Ultra, Zuma Deluxe, and Small Arms will go from 800 Microsoft points ($10) to 400 Microsoft points ($5).

Other new features include the incorporation of a news ticker into the dashboard to provide a steady stream of updates direct from Microsoft. Gamers will also have the chance to share a bit more information about themselves in an expanded bio section of their online user profile. Finally, the update will include a handful of interface tweaks, support for more video codecs, and full-screen movie previews.

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