Xbox 360 Round-up - New dashboard, avatars, NetFlix, Final Fantasy XIII and more

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New Xbox 360 dashboard for fall 2008 Microsoft's E3 announcements included quite a few surprises, including what looks like an improvement on the Wii's Mii system bonded with a pre-emptive strike at the PlayStation Home. After the Xbox 360 fall dashboard update hits, you can say goodbye to the arguably innovative and slick "Blades" UI for a more interactive and community-centric interface. The avatars are more cartoonish than on PlayStation Home, but more extensible than Nintendo's limited Miis (though you can expect to shell out for an endless supply of trendy clothes and accessories). Gamers will be able to use them to hang out with friends and chat while watching Netflix streaming movies and TV shows together, playing avatar-enabled games such as Uno Rush and newly announced game shows, sharing pictures and more. It certainly looks more compelling than the Friends counter that greets you now when you sign in. Here's what else was announced:

  • Other dashboard improvements and notes:
    • Install all 360 games to your hard drive for faster loading (disc still required to prove ownership)
    • Remotely browse and purchase Xbox Live Marketplace content from your PC and queue automatic download to your console
    • Live Parties are limited to 8 friends at a time
    • Netflix on demand will be the same sub-DVD quality streaming content now available for PC and settop box, but with no added fees beyond your Netflix subscription when it ships "late fall" for the 360
    • Game shows with real world prizes will be launched on a new "Primetime" channel starting with 1 vs. 100
    • Your dashboard themes and gamer pictures will reportedly still be usable, but you might want to scale back your purchases just in case
    • Blades aren't gone completely, they're just banished to become a new popup that appears when you press the guide button on your controller
  • Final Fantasy XIII will ship on Xbox 360 at the same time as PS3, though don't expect Final Fantasy Versus XIII
  • Some key launch dates given:
    • Fable II - October
    • Gears of War 2 - Nov. 7
    • Resident Evil 5 - March 13
  • Upcoming Arcade exclusive titles include Galaga Legions, Geometry Wars 2 and Portal: Still Alive
  • Fallout 3 is getting some 360/PC exclusive downloadable content
  • You're In the Movies is a game that ships with the Xbox Vision Camera and includes several mini-games used to get you to do wacky stuff that's then cut into a faux movie trailer
  • Lips is a new karoake game that lets you download music from your iPod or Zune and use a motion-sensitive mike for percussion parts of songs
There was much more, but those were the big announcements...

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This page contains a single entry by Gamewatcher published on July 14, 2008 11:26 PM.

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Nintendo Round-up - GTA for DS, Wii Music, Animal Crossing: City Folk and Wii MotionPlus is the next entry in this blog.

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