Xbox Live updated, 360 Netflix exclusivity touted

Microsoft adds Games on Demand, Avatar Marketplace, viewing parties, other improvements to console's online service; Netflix search possible down the line.


As scheduled, the latest Xbox Live update is now up, running, and ready for download. As outlined on the official site, the new update brings a variety of features to the Xbox 360's online service, which boasts more than 20 million users. (To date, more than 30 million Xbox 360s have been sold worldwide.)

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As seen in the video above, the update tweaks the 360's Netflix streaming capabilities to allow users to edit their movie queues and have their Avatars watch movies in a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style theater. However, today Microsoft reiterated that its arrangement with the Los Gatos, California-based movie rental service is the only one of its kind in the industry.

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"This exclusive partnership offers you the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via Xbox 360," the company said in a statement aimed at rumors that the service is coming to the PlayStation 3 and Wii. "The Xbox 360 will be the only game console to offer this movie-watching experience, available to Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix unlimited plan subscribers, at no additional cost."

Also live today is the Avatar Marketplace, which allows players to purchase new clothing and items for their virtual alter egos on the service. In addition to a selection of free clothing, the virtual mannequins can be outfitted with premium brand-name items from clothiers Adidas, Quiksilver, Roxy, and Tokidoki, along with game-themed attire from Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, Gears of War 2, BioShock, and several Halo games. Offerings include an Adidas trucker hat for 80 Microsoft points ($1), one of three BioShock Big Daddy helmets for MSP160 ($2), a set of COG armor from Gears of War for MSP320 ($4), and a remote-control Warthog toy from Halo for MSP320 ($4).

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Last but not least, today also saw the launch of Xbox Live's new Games on Demand service, which offers a variety of full Xbox 360 catalog titles for the console. The games' cost has proven controversial in other territories, with some titles going for more than double their retail prices in Australia and New Zealand. However, in the US and Canada, the Games on Demand store has a much lower two-tiered price structure--$19.99 or $29.99--with prices in dollars, not Microsoft points. However, many Games on Demand prices are still above that of used copies at retailers such as GameStop, which is currently offering Mass Effect for just $14.99 pre-tax and shipping.

Since last week, the Games on Demand Store's lineup has also changed slightly, with Atari's Test Drive Unlimited disappearing and Electronic Arts' Battlefield: Bad Company materializing without fanfare. Manuals for the games can be downloaded and printed from the games' respective pages on, though they cannot yet be ordered through the site for automatic download to 360s.

Today's Xbox Live revamp did not include several Xbox Live features promised during Microsoft's E3 press briefing. Microsoft has previously said that 1080p video playback, Zune video downloads, and integration with Twitter, Facebook, and GameSpot sister site are all due "later this fall." Speaking with game blog Joystiq, Microsoft is also considering adding Netflix search to the service as part of a future update beyond the one later this year.

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Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft) - $29.99
Battlefield: Bad Company - $19.99 *NEW*
BioShock (2K Games) - $29.99
Burnout Paradise (EA) - $19.99
Call of Duty 2 (Activision) - $29.99
Dance Dance Revolution Universe (Konami) - $29.99
Fight Night Round 3 (EA) - $19.99
Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios) - $19.99
Karaoke Revolution American Idol Encore (Konami) - $29.99
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (LucasArts) - $29.99
Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios) - $19.99
Meet The Robinsons (Disney) - $29.99
MX vs. ATV Untamed (THQ) - $29.99
Need for Speed Carbon (EA) - $19.99
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA) - $19.99
Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios) - $19.99
Prey (2K Games) - $19.99
Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft) - $29.99
Ridge Racer 6 (Namco) - $19.99
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (Rockstar Games) - $29.99
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega) - $19.99
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2K Games/Bethesda Softworks) - $29.99
Viva Pinata (Microsoft Game Studios) - $19.99
Viva Pinata 2: Trouble in Paradise (Microsoft Game Studios) - $29.99

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Avatar image for Phaselinear

Been enjoying the Netflix "on demand" for awhile now it have never had a problem. Love the option, and will continue to do so as long as it continues to function effortlessly.

Avatar image for mikemetroid5565

Prey for 20.00? Gamestop = 6 Dollars >_>

Avatar image for darkinvasion25

I was thinking to get a splintercell costume for my avatar, cuz you have to get the head cover for a extra price and the price is $400 MS points ($5), it's sad they don't have stuff cheap as playstation home :D

Avatar image for vishnugupta96

damn it! i can only get 7 of these games just becaz i live in india. that is so biast to usa.

Avatar image for nickythenewt21

I was going to buy a lightsaber for my guy...but then I looked at the price. 400 MS points ($5). Holy cow, I could buy a lightsaber in real life for cheaper than that. However, the Big Daddy Bouncer helmet is tempting me...maybe if I have extra points left over from something else...

Avatar image for monson21502

man vs food>>>>>> xboxlive fees

Avatar image for AtheistPreacher

@ green_dominator I feel the same way you do about wanting to own physical copies of games... and I also won't buy a game used without the original case (150+ games... no generic cases!). However, not sure the service won't be successful... Steam is a successful model... only caveat I'd say is that with Steam, people have cheap hard drive space available... wheras 360 hard drive space is very expensive since you need to buy 360-specific hard drives. That may come into play with this service. But heck, since it's so much cheaper for them to sell a download than a physical copy, it doesn't even need to sell a lot to be considered "successful."

Avatar image for sharkpac

True prices are well over the shop price here in australia i can get mass effect for any where between $19.95 to $49.95 on xbox live its selling for $99.95 WTF .Also iam concerned with the fact that in australia we have internet limits to most plans so a 4 - 6 GB download is a hell of a lot (But not if you are with iinet as they have a deal with xbox so its all freezone) but for most it could be there monthly quota of we have unlimited plans here as well but slow connection rates of 512 speed would take some time to d/l a game , but that isnt a major worry pricing is would rather take a chance with pre-owned if i can pick it up for a 5th of the price . I look forward to netflik and watching movies on xbox still same probs with isps this side of the world so connect speeds and limited d/l .Anyway thanks for listening children

Avatar image for green_dominator

I doubt Games On Demand is going to catch on like they want.... I don't know about everyone else but when I buy a game even used ones I require 1. the original box 2. original book 3. original game disc So long as everything looks like it belongs there I'm happy. Unlike music I like having a physical game that if I get sick of it or just stop playing I can get some cash back on my investment...... Am I wrong????

Avatar image for sleepnsurf

Love the netflix thingy

Avatar image for Malfuntion

Is it me? Or are those games way overpriced... >.>

Avatar image for HollowDarkstar

If What I Spend My Points On Makes Happy, I'd Go For It. Already Got Full Clone Trooper Armor. :]

Avatar image for GBPackersrule

As a huge fan of The Godfather, I would love to be able to get a navy pinstripe suit, white fedora, Tommy gun and a cigar, and maybe some 5 o'clock shadow. But that ain't gonna happen.People say "why would I pay real money for fake $hit?" Believe me. It is just like deal or no deal. Easier said than done. (sadly) I bought the Adidas superstars because I have an exact pair. I fail.

Avatar image for Mac11_Fanboy

Bought the splinter cell suit and now it is out of my system. GoD is overpriced, most of those games are cheaper delivered off of amazon. But I could see myself paying £30 for BlazBlue if they put it out on there.

Avatar image for StumpyTrash

The problem I have with this is that the more this Avatar marketplace type crap permeates the market because of idiots buying it, the less we will actually get in the game we are paying $60 for. The more these companies think they can milk us for cash, the more they will do it. The same holds true for DLC. It just cheapens the experience when a game comes out and here we are a week later with "new" content for it that should have been included when the game shipped in the first place. Yet another downward spiral. GoD is a service for impatient people who can't wait to get rid of their money instead of waiting until the store opens tomorrow. The saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted.

Avatar image for Big_Dumb_Bunny

DeeCrutch... Why on Earth would MS need to funnel money from GOD titles or avatar clothing to release a fairly priced Terabyte drive for the 360? They're f'ing Microsoft, they have enough money to buy a country... or two. The 120 Gig HDD is so unbelievably priced that you're better off to sell your 20 Gig console and buy a brand new Elite IMO. Plus, a lot of people seem to think there is something special about the 360 HDDs but there isn't, they're just your standard HDD in a different casing, so there's no justifiable reason for them to be priced so high. But you're absolutely right about people who are buying avatar clothing and GOD, they're basically saying to MS that they'll pay pretty much anything for nothing. Which is totally their choice, it's their money, but it makes getting a fair deal next to impossible because MS will use their purchases to justify keeping their pricing high. IMO avatar clothing should be built into games like achievements, not sold. It just seems so f'ed up to me that we're buying virtual clothes for our virtual selves when some people in the world don't have clothes to wear period. Sad people, sad.

Avatar image for gnrlstuart

the price dosent make sense, god costs more, yet you have no disc, manual, no lending, no returning, and is actually MORE difficult for most people, since xbox lives credit card, let alone debit card support is abysmal. almost all the people i know buy points cards, wich cost more money than you actually needed, putting me off purchases unless they are necessary. so in summary, more credit card and debit card support, competitive price points, and more special offers and reductions in older games and map packs.

Avatar image for PaulTMD452

The deal with digital distribution saving money is that it IS seen in Live Arcade games. Those games by and large cost significantly less than retail games and digital distribution is to thank. If The Dishwasher were released on a disc I have no doubt in my mind it would cost significantly more. It's hard to apply this to games already available on disc because nobody wants to cannabalize one market to feed another. You can't make enemies of retailers because you are offering the exact same game for less money digitally. The pricing has to remain competitive in order to keep from making enemies.

Avatar image for kungfuj0

However... I do have one thing that might make this exceptable or excusable to me. MS's current hard drive pricing model is completely and utterly ridiculous. You can buy a 1 TERABYTE drive for the same price or less than you can buy MS's 120 gig drive. There are rumors that MS is working on a 1 TB drive for the 360. Now IF MS uses the ill-gotten cash from their little clothing sale here to keep the price of this 1TB drive competitive with the current market prices of other 1TB drives, then maybe, just MAYBE this whole shindig will be worth it. Otherwise this is just one more greedy act by one more greedy company, and I am sad to see so many people falling for it. I've been saying for YEARS now that MS could out-EA EA any day of the week. It looks like I'm being proven more right as time goes by.

Avatar image for kungfuj0

After reading more of the comments here, I don't think some of you get it, either that or you are rich enough that you just don't care. When MS (or EA or any other company) puts prices on ridiculous things (like clothes for avatars, horse armors, jerseys in sports games, etc), and people actually buy those things, then all that does is make those companies do more of that stuff. These people are putting prices on things that probably should be free to begin with, or at the very least, earned through playing the games that they are related to. This isn't about me saying that MS is forcing me to buy anything....they aren't. It is about not supporting people who want me to waste money on dumb ****. I mean seriously people, if playing dress-up is THAT important to you, then go borrow your sister's Barbie dolls and do it the old fashioned way!

Avatar image for fillup0

The new Xbox 360 update! You can now get games for rediculous prices thanks to new games on demand! Such a great deal!

Avatar image for StarlightHunter

Oblivion GoTY for 29.99 and I can get it for 19.99 from Game and Gamestation. Seriously MS need to think about the prices and atleast make them compairable to local retailers otherwise no one will buy them.

Avatar image for blaze11987

well i have to admit it, my avatar is now sporting UNSC marine combat armor and has a lovely remote control warthog buzzing around my feet...i hang my head in shame haha

Avatar image for green_dominator

@Big_Dumb_Bunny... Yeah, they seem to be going off their greatest hits program not taking into account that some if not all games offered can be had for much less, At gamestop I got a copy of PREY for $4.00 on the Games on demand it's listed at $19.99 Ouch

Avatar image for Big_Dumb_Bunny

Holy f'ing eff, I was just browsing the games on demand service and was looking at the prices (in Canadian dollars)... $39.99 for Call of Duty 2!? 2!? HA HA HA HA!!! Oblivion for $39.99!? I can go to Best Buy and get the game of the year edition for $19.99 brand new and that's not a sale price! Bad Company: Gold Edition is also $19.99 in stores. Microsoft, I laugh in your face. And as for all the people saying that MS doesn't want to piss off the retailers, that's bulls**t. You could take your standard MRSP and add 10% and not make them mad, but to double the price of a digital copy verses buying a game, on a disc, in a case that had to be manufactured, packaged and shipped is an insult to everyone that owns a 360. If this is the future of digital distribution, forget it, count me out. I'd rather buy a game in a store anyways. That's not to mention the ridiculous prices of avatar clothing which I also won't be buying. In fact, from now on I think DLC is all I'll buy seeing as how MS has shown us how much they respect the value of our hard earned dollars. Eat it MS.

Avatar image for gamehog5

its a sad day when people start paying for completely non-tangible items........... next they'll start charging MS points just to turn your xbox on

Avatar image for starbead

Been thinking more about the Games On Demand prices. It isn't Microsoft's fault. The new Games on Demand is simply laying the groundwork for the future of game distribution. We aren't there yet. The 360 doesn't have the HD space to support pure digital distribution for one thing. This is a glimpse into the future. Why is it not Microsoft's fault? They aren't selling the games at discounted prices because they can't. Digital dist. may be the future, but MS has to work in the present. If they offered the kind of discounts we were hoping for on games, they would come under HEAVY fire from games retailers. MS cannot afford to have Gamstop or Best Buy to stop stocking their games, which would probably happen if they undercut the retailers by much. Eventually, MS will be able to cut out the middle man, but for now I am gonna be watching Games on Demand for possible sales events on certain games.

Avatar image for Avenger1324

The US have got the best prices for the games compared to all other regions, but crucially the games are just priced far too high compared to the high street. Whatever happened to digital distribution costing them less, so we would see some of the saving passed on in lower prices? No - it's just the latest way to fleece your customer.

Avatar image for Somebody89

I'm loving the update but I don't understand as to why they think they can charge 30 for Bioshock and Viva Pinata: TIP

Avatar image for Killingspree303

Great new features to the Xbox 360. The avatar marketplace is one of the best!

Avatar image for mackey12345

Cool update... But the prices could use some adjusting... Bioshock can be found for 20 bucks out there, so could mass effect, aside from that, fixing the party disconnect, that's awesome.

Avatar image for nathace


Avatar image for Gadeos

I'd need a new HDD 'cause mine has only 20GB... and how much is the 120GB HDD??$$$$$$..... Sorry, not interested.

Avatar image for unknown2007

I'm liking that party movie feature though. sound pretty cool to just hang with friends on xbox live and chill watching a good action flick.

Avatar image for rpgking2005

@PaulTMD452 See, I get that there is the convenience factor to through in, but as I said before, digital distribution was touted as something that was going to result in lower prices for gamers. And why shouldn't it? The developer/publisher now doesn't have to pay someone to manufacture the disc and the packaging, they don't have to pay someone to ship it, and they don't have to pay a retailer to stock it on their shelves. There are so many places where the developer/publisher saves money, that to try to sell us less (no physical disc/box, no resale value, in many cases no expansions that can be bought with GOTY discs) not even just for the same price, but for MORE is a huge slap in the face to customers.

Avatar image for BessenStock

These 'on demand' games are way too much. I'd prefer to buy used games anyway. Don't care if a developer makes extra cash. They made their money when the original owner bought the game.

Avatar image for berkner_ram77

Didn't see this said anywhere, and it's really minor, but if you look to the top right of someones gamertag, it displays a number showing how many years you have been a member of xbox live. I got a 6.

Avatar image for Raging_Wookiee

@ Odnomiar Yesterday

Avatar image for Odnomiar

Anyone have any idea when this hit's the uk?

Avatar image for Hydrolix

I like the Games on Demand idea, but they are going to have to make their prices realistic. 19.99 for Prey? I'm Pretty sure I can get that used for like 7.99 at GS.

Avatar image for giu926

this is great for me. those games cost like 100 bucks here so if i can buy a game for 19.99 it is a great deal for me!

Avatar image for brendanhunt1

"there's no worry about scratched discs" yea thats the excuss you choose.

Avatar image for PseudoFinrod

The avatar items are WAY too expensive. This is coming from someone who has spent at least $10 on costumes in Playstation Home with no regrets. They should also do two things to make the Games on Demand service profitable. First, have frequent sales that rival what we can get at retail. Secondly, get off their high horse and lower the price of their hard drives!

Avatar image for SephirothIsKing

I despise this whole On Demand service for games. I really hope that people don't support this and the reason I feel this way, is because I feel that games will start to become available only for download. I want to have the actual game in my hand. This way you can lend/borrow games with friends and still sell your games.

Avatar image for Flint247

Great, now I wish I had a Xbox 360 now.

Avatar image for zgreenwell

The best part of the update is how it shows you the achievements while in game. It is 100x better now.

Avatar image for Get_Shorty

Anbody going to be renting Hulk later? Invite me to the party so I can watch the movie for free... suckeeeeerrr!

Avatar image for EYE0NE

"Ok so now Onlive announces they're coming out with games on demand service. M$ learns about this, makes an aditional deal with Netflix. Now beats onlive to the punch and does the same exact type of serivce. (with more cost.) Oh boy now M$ is in the hot seat with Australia and New zealand. man M$ is begining to piss me off, even more." I don't see how Onlive and GoD is the same thing. It's completely not the same thing. That's like saying that buying a digital download movie and Netflix instant queue is the same thing. It appeals to different people.

Avatar image for EYE0NE

"Of course they were. Thats what they've been doing since 2002. And it's completely unacceptible. When PC, PSN online gaming is free." In your opinion perhaps.

Avatar image for mcuth

I was very excited about the Games on Demand service, but then when I logged in and saw the prices.... C'mon! They're charging significantly more than I can go buy a copy for at the store (and that, despite the fact that they don't have to pay for packaging or shipping). Plus I could trade that copy w/a friend when I get tired of it, or sell it on Ebay, or trade it in... Get real, Microsoft.