When Microsoft updated the Xbox and Live Dashboard a while back, they added some pretty niffty features, like Avatars, and made the whole experience better and more easy to use. Well now Microsoft has decided it is time to tweak the Dashboard even more. This new update, set to hit August 11, 2009, will have a ton of new features that hope to make Xbox Live that much better.
The list of updates for the Xbox Live Dashboard is intense. First off, the Netflix service on Xbox Live is receiving a big improvement. Now with Netflix, you have an Enhanced Playback Experience which allows you enjoy a smooth viewing experience when your internet bandwidth fluctuates. You can also manage your queue. You can browse around the Netflix Instant Watch video catalog. Check out all the popular and new movies and add them to your Netflix queue right from your Xbox without having to go to your computer. But one of the coolest things is the addition of movie parties. Now you and your friends can all watch the same show or movie via Xbox Live. You and up to seven of your friends will be able to watch a movie while you see your virtual avatars watch the movie in a virtual theater. You can watch your avatars watch the movie, flirt, eat popcorn or even throw popcorn at each other.
Another feature with the update is the addition of an avatar marketplace. Yeah, you heard right, now you can spend real money on virtual junk for your little you. But the these new things aren't just random articles of clothing. You can download branded apparel, like shirts from popular games like Halo or Gears of War. In addition to branded clothing you can now download props. Yep, little animated items that your avatar will carry around with them wherever they go. But, if you don't want to pay for shirts and clothing branded by your favorite games, don't fret, because now you can earn things like avatar clothing as rewards within games. So start getting better at your favorite game if you really need that Super Monkey Ball T-shirt.
Gaming on demand is one of the coolest sounding features for the newest update to the Xbox Live Experience. You will now be able to download full Xbox titles through Xbox Live whenever you want them. You can buy them using Microsoft Points, direct debit or a credit card. You can also download, view or print the game manuals for your downloaded games as well and after you download the game it is yours forever. The games do not take up hard drive space but instead are linked to your Xbox Live account. User Ratings have been added to help you find and rate games you like. You can now rate the game you like from the marketplace on a scale of 1 to 5-star system. The user ratings update also makes it easier for you to find through the Top Rated categories or by the Browse All category.
Everybody loves to party and it is no different on Xbox Live. The update has done some work on your parties and your party connection. If you are accidentally bumped from the party or you lose connection then Xbox Live will automatically reconnect you. Now parties are streamlined so no more going through multiple screens to get all of your friends together. Xbox Live has also made it easier for you to view all your entertainment in the highest possible resolution on your tv by way of HDMI connection.
There are also a number of just plain 'ol improvements. Now there are Gold member veterans which allows you to show off to other gamers how long you have been on Xbox Live. Xbox Live Community Games has been renamed to Xbox Live Indie Games. There is a new and improved Achievement browser which makes i easier for you to view your achievements while playing a game. It also lets you launch a game straight from the browser. There is a new achievement tracking feature that will allow you to view a summary of all your achievements for all your games as well as a list of all your completed games. There is new streamlined navigation which adds new entry points in the dashboard for redeeming codes, your active downloads, recovering gamertags and more.when recording a voice message, a message will pop up if there is no audio detected. A new friends list sorter has been added. You can now find and sort your friends based on activity, online status, or their gamertag by pressing the Y button while viewing your list of friends.
Account management features have been updated as well. There will now be messages that pop up when you sign into Xbox Live telling you if your Gold membership is about to expire or if your Windows Live ID has expired. There has also been an enhancement added to the account recovery process which makes it faster and more reliable.
While it sound like this new update has everything there are some big things not in this update that people were wanting. The features that will not be included in this update are the Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm support and also the Zune video and 1080p Instant On functionality. However, these features will be included in the winter update and future updates to the Xbox Live Dashboard. This new update has Xbox Live users in a buzz and looks to bring some really good improvements to our Xbox Live Experience. You can enjoy all the niffty updates, including Avatar clothing, August 11, 2009.