Hey Got Gamers,
Tomorrow (December 6th) we’ll all wake up to an update that will cause the 2nd major re-imagining of the Xbox360′s user interface. It seems like only yesterday that we were saying goodbye to the blades of Xbox past.
Tomorrow we will welcome a new dashboard to the world; and if I could use only one word to describe it, I would call it alien. That is unless you’ve used the Kinect only menus that were added last year, and based on discussions with others, it seems like very few people ever did.
Like the old Kinect only dashboard, this new dashboard (seen in the image below) will be built around hubs. Games, videos, music, apps and so on will each have their own little hub. You can then use these hubs to access more layers of music, videos and games that have been organized in various sub-hubs or lists.
For example, you can turn on your Xbox360 and go to the video hub. From that hub you can choose to access a smaller hub for TV shows or a completely different hub for movies. This continues throughout the levels until the hubs become lists, but that normally happens around the time you’ve finally narrowed things down to a single TV series, movie franchise, or musical recording artist.
I also can’t confirm this, because I don’t have one of my own, but I was also told many times (during the preview event) that this new dashboard interface also works in the same way as the Windows Phone 7 operating system.
However, if you’re like me, and have never used an Windows Phone 7, that means nothing to you.
Therefore, we’ll we were at this media preview, we decided to corner Xbox Canada’s Glenn Purkis to discuss the new changes for you. In the audio file below, we talk to him about everything from the new cloud saving system to Xbox Beacons.
Download Here’s our discussion with Glenn.
Those beacons do sound cool, but what really got me excited at the media preview is a new service called Crackle. I’ve never heard of it before, but you can almost think of them as Netflix. The only difference is that you don’t pay for Crackle with money; you pay with time spent watching advertising.
Now to be honest, the Crackle selection wasn’t overflowing with summer blockbusters (I don’t even remember seeing a piece of programming that was less than 5 years old), but that sort of programming can still have a place in our digital libraries if it is good enough.
Download I’ll let Crackle’s Phillip Lynch tell you the details in this interview.
Now despite the impression my excitement may give, Crackle was far from the only video content provider showing off their digital products. Microsoft is clearly devoting a lot of their time and energy to bring large amounts of video content to the user base.
That was at least the impression I got while we were there, because we ended up talking to:
Download David Purdy, VP of Video Products, about Rogers OnDemand Integration.
Download Nikki Banks regarding the changes made to the Zune Marketplace.
Download Matt McKenzie discusses what MSN Canada is bringing to the new update.
All of which went into detail about the types of services their groups will be offering the Xbox Live users.
Sadly, despite having a display, the UFC did not send anyone to talk to the media about what sort of UFC programming you can get over your Xbox. The best I could do was this clip from the Microsoft Press Conference held during E3 2011. It will at least gives us a vague idea of what the UFC is working on.
Youtube was also there, but I am not going to post anything from our time with Youtube. Imagine if Youtube had more layers to it that caused it to be less streamlined. Obviously, it was the Youtube we all know, but it’s a far bulkier version of Youtube that you use when compared to a computer or even a iPhone.
Finally, don’t miss this week’s Got Game. We will be chatting with Chris Hebb, from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, about how their dashboard application will allow you to watch Leafs, Raptors, and Toronto FC games over your Xbox360 as well.
UPDATE: The release of the new dashboard update has been delayed for an unknown reason. Earlier today, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson tweeted that, “The timing for Xbox 360 dashboard update has been slightly delayed. I’ll have a status update later today”. Since then Larry Hryb (aka – Major Nelson) has posted a handful of tweets that all basically say that Microsoft is working on it and that they’ll give us more information as it becomes available.
UPDATE #2: Problem seems to be resolved. Update is now being downloaded in Southern Ontario.