The New 360 Dashboard and What it Means for Us
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 23rd Dec 2011
The Third Dashboard - and Kinect
December 6th was supposed to be when the world received the new dashboard, but some minor technical issues delayed the full launch for over a day, and when it finally did resume, the launch was rolled out in waves based on geography, so some of the Xbox owners in other parts of the world did not receive the update while others did...
North American users found that their new dashboard was all about the deeper integration of multimedia, with an emphasis upon turning the console into an entertainment hub, as the bew video services and Youtube made up the largest of the changes. In addition to the already existing Zune and Netflix services, users found that they now had access to additional streaming video and "Video on Demand" services that was planned to eventually include over 40 entertainment services -- many of which required payment of subscription fees -- if they were available in your region as not all are.
The new Dashboard features Microsoft's own Bing web search engine, which is fully integrated into the voice-control side of Kinext, allowing users to search the entire Xbox LIVE market of games, movies and music using their voice.
While it is obviously intended to showcase the power of Kinect, Microsoft added some new features to the dashboard that will resonate well with users even if they do not own a Kinect!
The Things You Can Do
All that is fine in theory, but what parts of the new interface will most users actually find useful? That is the question that we asked ourselves as we looked at the new layout and pondered how long it would take to get used to it...
While the learning curve will be a bit less severe thanks to the fact that they once again had the sense not to mess with the simplified blade-based menus that can be accessed via the Xbox Guide Button, there actually are some useful and even fun elements to this new dashboard, starting with the integrated cloud storage services.
Calling it a Cloud is really just a fancy way to say that you have access to remote storage via the 'Net -- and one element of that which we think is particularly cool is the ability to use the cloud for the save point for game saves!
Granted there are not a lot of games that make that service invaluable -- yet -- since most of the games we play and that are presently available are not the sort you actually play when you visit your mates, but with the service available it surely will not be long before game studios begin to build that sort of functionality and features into their games, right?