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About

The New Look

The New Xbox Experience or NXE is a complete overhaul of the "Blade" Interface of the Xbox 360. The NXE was unveiled at the 2008 Microsoft Press Conference at E3 2008. New features include; Neflix integration, the introduction of avatars, ability to load games onto the hard-drive and friend parties, just to name a few.

The NXE was released worldwide as an update over Xbox Live on Wednesday the 19th of November 2008. The NXE is available to all Xbox Live users regardless of Silver or Gold memberships. Users will automatically prompted to update when they log onto their Xbox 360 and the download will only consume 128MB of memory. For people who may have purchased a Core system and do not have a large enough memory card Microsoft set up an upgrade program where people who have not connected a storage device with more than 128MB of memory can either receive a free 512MB memory card or pay $20 for a refurbished 20GB hard drive. This program is not avaliable to anybody who has connected a storage device to their console.

Based on Windows Media Center, the design follows the look of WMC while keeping the old "blade" interface when the Xbox 360 button is pressed.

Metro Dashboard

The New. . . New Look

During E3 2011 it was announced that another new dashboard experience was being produced for a fall release.

On December 6th, 2011 The new dashboard was released and featured an enhanced Kinect functional design that falls more inline with the Windows Phone 7 "Metro" design. It also came with many more media applications such as YouTube, TMZ, Epix, Verizon FIOS, Xfinity and many more being added over the next couple of months. Along with the updated Kinect functionality there was also a search option that allows for users to search through all of the marketplace options using Microsofts Bing search engine. The search is also functional with the Kinect sensor. Beacons where also introduced to allow users to post the games they wanted to play and be notified of when others started and playing. Finally they introduced cloud storage that allows users to upload up to 512mb to Microsoft severs and access that information from anywhere.

The new Metro dashboard also features Smartglass Support which is a system by the Xbox can be controlled using an existing handset of tablet. During movies

The Features

Avatars

The Avatar system on the New Xbox Experience was introduced as a way to make the Xbox Live experience a more enjoyable, creative and personal experience. Similar to Nintendo Wii Mii's the Avatar system enables user to create a life like and fully customized and full animated person.

Initial support was limited with users only able to use certain clothing facial styles, hair, etc. Now however, each Xbox Live user is able to fully dress and style their avatar with 100's of clothes and accessories. There are also many sponsored ranges of clothing and accessories available on the Xbox Live Marketplace as well as items for special events such as World Cups, the Olympics and holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

Avatar Awards are game specific clothing and accessories that can be won from full title games as well as Xbox Live Arcade games. 'Kingdom for Kefilings' was one of the first games with this feature as well as the ability to take your custom avatar in-game with you. Since the launch of the NXE there has been many games with this feature.

With the recent addition of the Kinect to Xbox. Avatars are now fully controllable in game as well as on the dashboard with Avatar Kinect.

Parties

The NXE allows users to create a party with up to seven other friends. Users can exchange photos, chat, watch the same movie and join as one group without the need for individual invites. Groups can also be doing completely separate tasks while on Xbox Live. Messages can be sent to each member of the party as the same time.

Deleting Zero Gamerscore Games

Also added to the New Xbox Experience is the ability to remove any games that have no gamerscore points from your Gamercard, a much requested feature since the launch of the Xbox 360. This is done by going to the achievement list and pressing the X button when a zero gamerscore game is selected. Any games with any gamerscore at all cannot be removed from a gamercard.

XNA Community Games

The New Xbox Experience also includes the XNA Creators Club games. These games are written and developed by the XNA community and are not being published by any large publisher, they will not be rated by the ESRB or any other game rating organisation but include short descriptions of what is in them and also a mark out of 3 for 3 catagories; Violence, Nudity and mature language.

Installing to Hard Drive

One of the biggest new features that was included in the update is the ability to install the game data to a hard drive. This process will copy the entire contents of the disc onto the hard drive. The main use of this feature is to cut down the noise that the Xbox 360 makes while playing games, this works as the noisiest part of the Xbox 360, the disc drive, no longer has to spin. This has the added benefit of improving the loading times on some games. For example The Orange Box' initial load time is decreased from 47 seconds to just 15 seconds. To allow games to be played from the hard drive users must still have the games disc in the drive. This is to prevent players sharing or renting games and playing them after they have been returned. Installing games to the hard drive is performed by first, ensuring that the game is in the drive already, pressing Y on the games icon shown in the My Xbox section and then selecting the "Install Game to Hard Drive" option.

An added benefit of this feature is that scratched, cracked and generally unplayable discs have a chance of still being usable. Renting or borrowing a friends copy of a game, installing it to your hard drive and then using the broken disc to verify the installation can, in some cases, allow games that are in an unplayable condition to be used again. NOTE: A COPY OF THE DISC IS NEEDED TO PLAY.

Online Marketplace

As a part of the update Microsoft also updated the Xbox.com site to include the Xbox Live Marketplace. Users will be able to sign on and purchase items from the online marketplace for the same price they would on the Xbox Live Marketplace from their computer. The next time the console is switched on the download will automatically begin. As a product of this new service, each piece of marketplace content will have a unique URL which publishers, developers and new blogs can put up links to. The web-based Marketplace is located here.

There has been a significant change to the Xbox Live Marketplace side with each game entry on the marketplace pulling the each games information from xbox.com and displaying it when the game is selected. This is very useful when trying to find out what the hell Damnation might be.

The Marketplace has seen a huge influx of sponsored content and most full-title games released are released with DLC (Downloadable Content) which increases the longevity of games!

Netflix

The New Xbox Experience also includes support for Netflix integration. This will be a separate application from the dashboard and will have to be downloaded separately. When installed any movies stored in your Netflix Instant queue will be available for streaming straight to your console. Users will have to be a paying member of Netflix to avail of this feature.

Parties will be able to watch films while over chat.

Themes and Gamer Pictures

In this updates users keep all their old themes and gamer pictures as well as the option of 100's of new themes and gamer pictures. However only one background image will be used. Each

Halo 3's page in the new Xbox Live Marketplace theme is so detailed that each page on the NXE is different and the whole feel and look of the dashboard is changed to suit the theme. The friends tab is also changed with the backgrounds/items behind friends suiting the theme. Gamer pictures can replace the Avatar, users can also take pictures of their Avatar and use that as their gamerpicture, Avatars will always remain on the Gamercard section of the dashboard. Gamerpictures are still a huge way of user customizing their Xbox Experience. Upgraded Visuals

The NXE has additional support for the 16:10 aspect ratio and resolutions 1440x900 and 1680x1050 (over HDMI or VGA), though when running in these resolutions, the screen is letter boxed to form a 16:9 image. Nevertheless, the new resolution support does mean users of widescreen monitors no longer have to put up with stretched visuals.

Bing (New)

Announced at E3 2011, this new feature which is to be released in Fall 2011 will allow users to search Microsoft's Bing search engine through use of the control pad as well as the Kinect Voice Commands.

Kinect Fun Labs (New)

This new and exciting feature to the Xbox Experience was announced and launched on the 6th of June 2011 at Microsoft's E3 2011 Conference. This fun new feature that is downloaded from the Marketplace allows users with the Kinect Controller to access brand new technology utilising the Kinect. Some of the features showcased included; 'Kinect Me', 'Bobble Heads' 'Avatar Me'. These however are new and under development which include achievement points for users. As the Fun Labs grow there will be newer features added and newer features using the Kinect Support which was severely lacked in the early release of the controller.

Cut Features

On the 4th of November Microsoft announced that over half of the originally planned features for the new Xbox Experience were cut during development. This is a much smaller issue than it would have been before the update however as, due to architectural changes within the system new features can simply be dropped on to the dashboard as optional updates at any time during the year.

Xbox Primetime was a feature heavily pushed early on in the lie of the NXE however running costs and falling usage meant that the service was pulled

Early Release

Alternative (scrapped) NXE

At the beginning there were two versions of the NXE. One of the versions was scrapped, and surprisingly it was very late in development, and looked pretty finished. It looked a lot like the Old Xbox Dashboard, but looked more abstract as well.

The old alternative, scrapped NXE. looks late in development.

Beta Programme

On the 24th of October Microsoft's Larry " Major Nelson" Hyrb announced that a preview program would allow a select few people into a beta of the New Xbox Experience. Anybody interested was asked to sign up on Microsoft Connect, the site used to host all Microsoft betas. The Beta invites were sent out in 3 waves and eventually everybody who applied for the beta were given access to the update.

Leaked release

The Dashboard update was also released to many torrent sites, it could be loaded onto a USB drive and installed. It was also possible to install the update by plugging in the hard drive of a person with the update into a console without the update. Users attempting either of these methods would find themselves unable to sign into Xbox Live.

The New Xbox Experience games list is a list of all games that have or will be adding Avatar support

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