The feeling of the start of fall is beginning to fill the air. In Florida, car interiors are no longer burning with the heat of 1,000 raging wildfires, football season has just kicked off and for the Xbox 360, ESPN just got loaded with a bunch of awesome upgrades to prepare you until the mercury rises again. Fall season is also the time where the 360 also sees a dashboard upgrade, and that's what we found out this week.
Microsoft is looking to continue its sleek Windows 8/WinPho 7 look and implement the 'Metro' user interface that we hinted at back at E3 this year into the 360. Not only should we expect to see the Kinect and physical controller areas finally merged together to live happily, we should also see performance boosts, easier navigation and, of course, simpler, indexed searching with Bing via voice or text.
However, that's not all we'll see this fall for the update. Plus, your Xbox is finally getting live TV! We'll talk about these great things after the break.
Microsoft's director of platform marketing, Albert Penello, talked about the upcoming changes to the console.
The definition of a game console is changing over time. What people expect and want is changing. This update gets us into a place where we can expand more rapidly without breaking the experience for people who are primarily there to play games.
Penello went on to say that because innovation took over last year, the UI received a little less attention than intended and become more of a "patchwork" process. He says this new update will eliminate the difficulty of navigating with Kinect and running into gaps in interactivity.
No more dead ends - if you can see it you can say it. Our big philosophy is, the entertainment you want with the people you care about made easy.
Going along with the removal of "dead ends" is a top level spot for apps to the new dashboard. Now you can find more than just games, music and videos with ease, but we weren't privy to any new apps added to the console just yet.
For entertainment, Microsoft is delivering big by bringing live TV and on-demand to Xbox. This goes beyond the AT&T U-Verse offering by allowing all Gold members access to TV channels in time for the holiday season this year. However, there is still much speculation about this new feature, as pricing, structure and content partners were not disclosed by anyone in the company.
Overall, it looks like another really great update to the Xbox that truly makes it the center of all family entertainment, while going along with the new universal user experience of all Microsoft products. The beta turns up next month and as soon as we get it, we'll be sure to test it, as we have high hopes for the new dashboard.