Xbox.com gets face-lift

It's out with the old and in with the new as Microsoft's official site adopts a 360 motif, gives details on upcoming Xbox Live, Marketplace features.

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Microsoft took down both Xbox.com and Xbox Live yesterday to prep them for the upcoming launch of the Xbox 360, and both services made it back up this morning. However, while Xbox Live looks and functions the same as it did before, Xbox.com has been given a thorough overhaul by making extensive use of a new Xbox 360 visual motif.

The new site is also loaded with details about the 360's hardware capabilities, the new Xbox Live Silver and Gold services, ripping music to the system, Windows Media Center compatibility, and more. An infomercial-like exchange between Clinton and TriXie serves as a comprehensive introduction to Gamer Profiles (complete with reputation, acheivements, and Gamer Zones), while the Xbox Live Marketplace article gives a look at the interface and initial capabilities of that feature. There's even a two-and-a-half-minute-long video devoted solely to giving an up-close look at all the accessories.

One glaring omission on the new Xbox.com is the absence of a backward compatibility listing for Xbox software on the Xbox 360. Backward compatibility, in general, gets very little attention on the site at all, appearing most prominently in the features list for the 360, which only says, "Xbox 360 with the hard drive is backward-compatible for an array of original Xbox titles too, which means both original and Xbox 360 gamers will be able to play in the same matches online with Xbox Live."

Features to be included in the future include new forums and a "My Xbox" feature that lets visitors create their own gamer cards, as well as check out their friends lists from the site.

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