Recently a rumour was being passed around the interwebs that a new dashboard was coming out for the XBOX 360, the (leaked) feature list ((http://kotaku.com/5008939/rumored-xbox-360-spring-update-touts-motion-sensor-features-game-installs)) was amazing and addressed almost everything anyone could want in an online gaming dashboard. It turns out that the feature list was indeed too good to be true and Microsoft denied any knowledge of the list to the point of saying that there would be no spring update this year, ouch.
Luckily, that denial was probably just for misdirection purposes, yesterday Microsoft trumped the fake list with their own genuine list for the “fall” update (I’m putting “fall” on quotes because that’s not actually a real season, but if it helps the average American remember which season Autumn is, that’s ok, I suppose).
The genuine list isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive as the fake one but it does have some very nice additions, the most exciting is the ability to install games to the xbox hard drive (which was also on the fake list) and support for 16:10 resolutions (so everyone using a PC monitor as their display can now stop whining). There will also be a major revamp of the dashboard interface, as seen above, it looks like some of the interface desgners from the Vista team have come over the XBOX.
- Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive. Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.
- Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.
- Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it’s not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.
- LIVE Party system. Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos. It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games. LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing.
- Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends. Games will support everything you’d expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show. Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions. Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen.
- Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag – it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars. You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community. Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games.
- New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440×900 or 1680×1050.
It’s still a couple of months off but and the full article ((http://gamerscoreblog.com/team/archive/2008/07/14/mrcwhtnltrxle.aspx)) states that they will be releasing more details as time progresses, who knows, maybe the fake list was real after all.
Fake edit: I was listening to the 1Up podcast and one of the guys mentioned that someone (not Microsoft) had mocked up a new dashboard concept along with an analysis on the percentage of screen real estate taken up by things like advertising and unused space in the current and concept, check it out here.
And here’s a picture, I actually like this one better than the real one, above: