The New Xbox Dashboard is slightly a trainwreck

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Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1082 posts) -

I've hardly been a critic of the previous iterations of the Xbox Dashboard. Sure, there have been some small complaints here or there, but never have I felt genuine offended by the way things were laid out. That all changed with the release of the 2011 Xbox Dashboard. While on the surface it's generally pretty usable, there are a lot of things about it that feel like they were constructed by unfeeling logic robots who don't really understand how human beings comprehend interface.
 

 1000/1000 in Sonic Generations and STILL playing it. Word.
Let's start at the first screen you're met with, the home screen. While an improvement over the "Spotlight" channel from the previous dashboard iteration, it's really not much better. The major complaint people had with the Spotlight channel was that it was essentially a row of unskippable ads you were met with when you first booted your console up, forcing you to manually scroll up to the "Launch Game" option. On the new 2011 Dashboard, your cursor starts on the "Launch Game" option, but they've still worked as hard as possible to flood the bulk of your screen with as many advertisements as there is room for them.
 
STOP PLAYING SO MANY VIDEOGAMES AND BUY SOMETHING ALREADY
To a certain degree, I get why they would want to do this. The best comparison would be Valve's Steam platform on the PC; if you go in to their marketplace, you're basically looking at a huge string of advertisements for everything on their site. It's how they get you to discover new content. If they can't advertise what they have, then you won't know it's available for purchase. There is, however, a pretty significant difference between the way Steam does business and the way Microsoft is trying to do business. When I open Steam to play a game, this is the first thing I see:
 
 You don't think it's too subtle, Marty, you don't think people are going to drive down and not see the sign?
That's because Steam lets me customize my view. By default it's set up to take you to the store page first thing, but with a few simple clicks you can launch Steam directly in to your game library and skip the whole "Dude check it out, Orcs Must Die is only $3 today" advertisement screen. Microsoft still doesn't let you do this, even if you're a paying Xbox Live Gold customer. This was actually the primary feature request with the Spotlight channel - there needed to be some way to let people skip all the ads and get right to playing a game. Instead, Microsoft's solution is to give you the option to play whatever is in the disc drive and the ten most recently used/downloaded games and "apps". One step in the right direction, but two steps back, given that the ads are bigger and more pervasive than ever. (this is saying nothing of the fact that Steam only advertises games on Steam, but the Xbox Dashboard has no problem trying to sell me cars and pizza and movie tickets and World of Warcraft subscriptions)
 
But all of that would be fine if it was the only transgression. But no - the new Xbox Live Dashboard commits sins far more egregious than simply bloated advertising space. Namely, what a pain in the ass it is to get to anything actually related to videogames. Sure, you have the two launch options on the Home menu - but if what you want to play isn't located in either of those options, you have to scroll through two other sections just to get to the "games" part of your game console. Again, comparisons to Steam are apt: I start with a list of every game I own and every game I have installed staring me in the face in that piece of software. On the Xbox Dashboard, I have to go on some kind of safari to find the games I have installed, braving the wilderness of the "social" and "video" categories. And while I own over $400 worth of Xbox Live content, you'd never know it because the dashboard still does not have any way of showing you a complete list of content you've purchase - you're only shown what's currently on the console at that point in time. It's completely up to you to keep track of what you own ( Backloggery has been a lifesaver in this regard), and if you want to replay any of it, you're forced to manually hunt that content down through the hellish landscape known as the "Game Marketplace".
 
 Look upon my visage, ye mighty, and despair!
For years, Microsoft has struggled to find a way to organize content on the Xbox Marketplace to allow room for growth while also organizing everything in a way that everybody can easily find it. The problem it came down to in the past is that it required too many "clicks" in order to drill down and find what you wanted. Again, not to keep going back to it, but Steam can be made to either show you a list of games you might want to buy or a list of games you might want to play as the first thing you see when you launch the software. Previous iterations of Xbox Live required you to flip through multiple sections and sub-categories just to finally get to a page that showed the most recent Xbox Live Arcade releases.
 
This, unfortunately, has not changed. Infact, given the fact that you have to scroll through the "Social" and "Video" tabs just to get to "Games" where the marketplace button is located, everything is potentially buried even deeper now than it ever has been. To make matters even worse, the actual Game Marketplace itself has been transformed in to a nearly unusable disaster. Broken out in to its own six categories, the Game Marketplace as it stands right now on the 2011 Xbox Live dashboard update is bloated and obtuse in a way that is genuinely shocking to me. It's so bad that I'm kind of at a loss for where to start, so we'll start by simply running down each category and it's function: 

  1. "Picks" - This is where games are recommended for purchase based on what the user has recently played and/or purchased.
  2. "Featured" - This is where games are recommended for purchase based on how much money Microsoft has been paid to advertise them.
  3. "Games" - This is theoretically where you are meant to discover new games for purchase.
  4. "Add-ons" - This is where downloadable content lives.
  5. "Extras" - This is where frivolous, overpriced garbage like avatar clothes and premium themes/gamerpics live, in addition to stuff like Halo Waypoint/Call of Duty Elite.
  6. "Demos" - Provided its own entire category, because, uh... well, er....

You may immediately notice that the first three categories are actually the exact same thing presented in three different ways: They are categories designed to get you to find and buy new games. Imagine logging in to Netflix and having three separate categories for recommendations instead of just one (one based on a computer algorithm, another based on how much Netflix was paid to recommend them to you, and a third category called "recommend a movie to yourself"). These three categories could be pretty easily be wrapped up in to one singular place with "Recommendations" and "Featured Games" being sub-sections in the "Games" category. 
 

It's so horrifying, and yet I can't look away!

Instead, we get the worst jumble of icons in the history of interface. This page right here is bad enough on its own that it deserves to be broken down point by point. To start: The icons they use for these features. We have a strange mish-mash of stock photos and more common pictograph-like icon artwork. The most immediate effect this had was that at first glance I seriously thought the only way to view a list of games was either by genre or alphabetically. "New Releases" and "Most Popular" didn't even register as filtering options, and even when they did, it literally took repeated visits to this category before I discovered that "Game Type" was the way I chose between Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Indies, Games on Demand, and Xbox Originals. There was a period of about 15 minutes where I was genuinely pissed off that they had taken away the ability to sort games "by platform" because there is no way an actual human brain makes the connection between an image of a stupid asshole in a hoodie doing parkour with choosing whether or not I want to look at Xbox Indies or Xbox Live Arcade games. They all need to be green background with white text icons because that's how you let the user know they are system functions and not advertisements or temporary promotions. And you especially do not mix and match one style with another style. Either go whole-hog with your stupid unrelated stock photos or don't because this is bad enough that it almost seems like you're deliberately sabotaging yourselves, Microsoft.
 
Similarly, there's not enough immediate distinction between "Add-Ons" and "Extras". Both terms basically mean the same thing, but Microsoft has to have their gross little corner where they charge people $7 for an intangible, completely worthless Master Chief costume for their fake computer person (or $3 for what essentially equates to a few JPEG thumbnails). Another problem with this section? The "Most Popular" sorting filter makes a return appearance, but in a completely different spot than it is in other Game Marketplace categories.
 

 Consistency is not Microsoft's strongest suit

Are you deliberately trying to make users get lost? It only reinforces the idea that "Most Popular" isn't a specific system menu function, but is instead some kind of temporary promotional deal. I realize you just had to make room for the new "Subscriptions" sub-section (fits with the massive amount of Gears of War 3 branding in this category) but I'm pretty sure it would have made more sense to keep "Most Popular" in the same location and move "Subscriptions" up above "A to Z", given that's the space that was removed to make room for "Subscriptions" in the first place!
 
Which of course brings us to "Demos", another category that could've probably been rolled in to simply "Games" somehow (if only Microsoft wasn't so keen on me buying a new Volkswagen). There's simply not enough content here to justify having it's own entire category, as evident by the fact that Kinect demos get broken out in to their own unique sub-section. 
 
And the worst part is? If they simply scaled back the advertising space and really stopped to think about how to effectively use the space they've been given, there's plenty of ways to shortcut a lot of these things to make product exposure easier and more streamlined. It took me 20 minutes to come up with this idea: 
 

A bit of a rough draft, but workable

 

The most important information all on one screen. Launch the game, go straight to your game library, and most importantly, a direct link to the game marketplace without having to thumb through multiple menus to get there. Not only that, but advertising links to video content, avatar content, and the deal of the week. On one screen. It's really not very difficult. It just means you don't give the advertisements top billing - something Microsoft probably isn't willing to do.
 
But until they they, we're always going to have dashboard revisions where you constantly have some Microsoft mouthpiece telling us how they're "redesigning the dashboard to make it easier to find content" when all they really mean is "we're making the ads bigger and shuffling some buttons around". 
 
And this isn't even touching any of the other problems with the new dashboard I've heard from other folks, either! (See: Netflix) It's kind of gross!

#1 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1082 posts) -

I've hardly been a critic of the previous iterations of the Xbox Dashboard. Sure, there have been some small complaints here or there, but never have I felt genuine offended by the way things were laid out. That all changed with the release of the 2011 Xbox Dashboard. While on the surface it's generally pretty usable, there are a lot of things about it that feel like they were constructed by unfeeling logic robots who don't really understand how human beings comprehend interface.
 

 1000/1000 in Sonic Generations and STILL playing it. Word.
Let's start at the first screen you're met with, the home screen. While an improvement over the "Spotlight" channel from the previous dashboard iteration, it's really not much better. The major complaint people had with the Spotlight channel was that it was essentially a row of unskippable ads you were met with when you first booted your console up, forcing you to manually scroll up to the "Launch Game" option. On the new 2011 Dashboard, your cursor starts on the "Launch Game" option, but they've still worked as hard as possible to flood the bulk of your screen with as many advertisements as there is room for them.
 
STOP PLAYING SO MANY VIDEOGAMES AND BUY SOMETHING ALREADY
To a certain degree, I get why they would want to do this. The best comparison would be Valve's Steam platform on the PC; if you go in to their marketplace, you're basically looking at a huge string of advertisements for everything on their site. It's how they get you to discover new content. If they can't advertise what they have, then you won't know it's available for purchase. There is, however, a pretty significant difference between the way Steam does business and the way Microsoft is trying to do business. When I open Steam to play a game, this is the first thing I see:
 
 You don't think it's too subtle, Marty, you don't think people are going to drive down and not see the sign?
That's because Steam lets me customize my view. By default it's set up to take you to the store page first thing, but with a few simple clicks you can launch Steam directly in to your game library and skip the whole "Dude check it out, Orcs Must Die is only $3 today" advertisement screen. Microsoft still doesn't let you do this, even if you're a paying Xbox Live Gold customer. This was actually the primary feature request with the Spotlight channel - there needed to be some way to let people skip all the ads and get right to playing a game. Instead, Microsoft's solution is to give you the option to play whatever is in the disc drive and the ten most recently used/downloaded games and "apps". One step in the right direction, but two steps back, given that the ads are bigger and more pervasive than ever. (this is saying nothing of the fact that Steam only advertises games on Steam, but the Xbox Dashboard has no problem trying to sell me cars and pizza and movie tickets and World of Warcraft subscriptions)
 
But all of that would be fine if it was the only transgression. But no - the new Xbox Live Dashboard commits sins far more egregious than simply bloated advertising space. Namely, what a pain in the ass it is to get to anything actually related to videogames. Sure, you have the two launch options on the Home menu - but if what you want to play isn't located in either of those options, you have to scroll through two other sections just to get to the "games" part of your game console. Again, comparisons to Steam are apt: I start with a list of every game I own and every game I have installed staring me in the face in that piece of software. On the Xbox Dashboard, I have to go on some kind of safari to find the games I have installed, braving the wilderness of the "social" and "video" categories. And while I own over $400 worth of Xbox Live content, you'd never know it because the dashboard still does not have any way of showing you a complete list of content you've purchase - you're only shown what's currently on the console at that point in time. It's completely up to you to keep track of what you own ( Backloggery has been a lifesaver in this regard), and if you want to replay any of it, you're forced to manually hunt that content down through the hellish landscape known as the "Game Marketplace".
 
 Look upon my visage, ye mighty, and despair!
For years, Microsoft has struggled to find a way to organize content on the Xbox Marketplace to allow room for growth while also organizing everything in a way that everybody can easily find it. The problem it came down to in the past is that it required too many "clicks" in order to drill down and find what you wanted. Again, not to keep going back to it, but Steam can be made to either show you a list of games you might want to buy or a list of games you might want to play as the first thing you see when you launch the software. Previous iterations of Xbox Live required you to flip through multiple sections and sub-categories just to finally get to a page that showed the most recent Xbox Live Arcade releases.
 
This, unfortunately, has not changed. Infact, given the fact that you have to scroll through the "Social" and "Video" tabs just to get to "Games" where the marketplace button is located, everything is potentially buried even deeper now than it ever has been. To make matters even worse, the actual Game Marketplace itself has been transformed in to a nearly unusable disaster. Broken out in to its own six categories, the Game Marketplace as it stands right now on the 2011 Xbox Live dashboard update is bloated and obtuse in a way that is genuinely shocking to me. It's so bad that I'm kind of at a loss for where to start, so we'll start by simply running down each category and it's function: 

  1. "Picks" - This is where games are recommended for purchase based on what the user has recently played and/or purchased.
  2. "Featured" - This is where games are recommended for purchase based on how much money Microsoft has been paid to advertise them.
  3. "Games" - This is theoretically where you are meant to discover new games for purchase.
  4. "Add-ons" - This is where downloadable content lives.
  5. "Extras" - This is where frivolous, overpriced garbage like avatar clothes and premium themes/gamerpics live, in addition to stuff like Halo Waypoint/Call of Duty Elite.
  6. "Demos" - Provided its own entire category, because, uh... well, er....

You may immediately notice that the first three categories are actually the exact same thing presented in three different ways: They are categories designed to get you to find and buy new games. Imagine logging in to Netflix and having three separate categories for recommendations instead of just one (one based on a computer algorithm, another based on how much Netflix was paid to recommend them to you, and a third category called "recommend a movie to yourself"). These three categories could be pretty easily be wrapped up in to one singular place with "Recommendations" and "Featured Games" being sub-sections in the "Games" category. 
 

It's so horrifying, and yet I can't look away!

Instead, we get the worst jumble of icons in the history of interface. This page right here is bad enough on its own that it deserves to be broken down point by point. To start: The icons they use for these features. We have a strange mish-mash of stock photos and more common pictograph-like icon artwork. The most immediate effect this had was that at first glance I seriously thought the only way to view a list of games was either by genre or alphabetically. "New Releases" and "Most Popular" didn't even register as filtering options, and even when they did, it literally took repeated visits to this category before I discovered that "Game Type" was the way I chose between Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Indies, Games on Demand, and Xbox Originals. There was a period of about 15 minutes where I was genuinely pissed off that they had taken away the ability to sort games "by platform" because there is no way an actual human brain makes the connection between an image of a stupid asshole in a hoodie doing parkour with choosing whether or not I want to look at Xbox Indies or Xbox Live Arcade games. They all need to be green background with white text icons because that's how you let the user know they are system functions and not advertisements or temporary promotions. And you especially do not mix and match one style with another style. Either go whole-hog with your stupid unrelated stock photos or don't because this is bad enough that it almost seems like you're deliberately sabotaging yourselves, Microsoft.
 
Similarly, there's not enough immediate distinction between "Add-Ons" and "Extras". Both terms basically mean the same thing, but Microsoft has to have their gross little corner where they charge people $7 for an intangible, completely worthless Master Chief costume for their fake computer person (or $3 for what essentially equates to a few JPEG thumbnails). Another problem with this section? The "Most Popular" sorting filter makes a return appearance, but in a completely different spot than it is in other Game Marketplace categories.
 

 Consistency is not Microsoft's strongest suit

Are you deliberately trying to make users get lost? It only reinforces the idea that "Most Popular" isn't a specific system menu function, but is instead some kind of temporary promotional deal. I realize you just had to make room for the new "Subscriptions" sub-section (fits with the massive amount of Gears of War 3 branding in this category) but I'm pretty sure it would have made more sense to keep "Most Popular" in the same location and move "Subscriptions" up above "A to Z", given that's the space that was removed to make room for "Subscriptions" in the first place!
 
Which of course brings us to "Demos", another category that could've probably been rolled in to simply "Games" somehow (if only Microsoft wasn't so keen on me buying a new Volkswagen). There's simply not enough content here to justify having it's own entire category, as evident by the fact that Kinect demos get broken out in to their own unique sub-section. 
 
And the worst part is? If they simply scaled back the advertising space and really stopped to think about how to effectively use the space they've been given, there's plenty of ways to shortcut a lot of these things to make product exposure easier and more streamlined. It took me 20 minutes to come up with this idea: 
 

A bit of a rough draft, but workable

 

The most important information all on one screen. Launch the game, go straight to your game library, and most importantly, a direct link to the game marketplace without having to thumb through multiple menus to get there. Not only that, but advertising links to video content, avatar content, and the deal of the week. On one screen. It's really not very difficult. It just means you don't give the advertisements top billing - something Microsoft probably isn't willing to do.
 
But until they they, we're always going to have dashboard revisions where you constantly have some Microsoft mouthpiece telling us how they're "redesigning the dashboard to make it easier to find content" when all they really mean is "we're making the ads bigger and shuffling some buttons around". 
 
And this isn't even touching any of the other problems with the new dashboard I've heard from other folks, either! (See: Netflix) It's kind of gross!

#2 Posted by JeanLuc (3565 posts) -

I wouldn't use the word trainwreck, But I do find the ads being bigger then "Play Disc" pretty lame.

#3 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@JeanLuc said:

I wouldn't use the word trainwreck, But I do find the ads being bigger then "Play Disc" pretty lame.

Course now we can just hammer the A button to get to the game faster. 
#4 Posted by JeanLuc (3565 posts) -

@The_Laughing_Man: Yes, that I do like.

#5 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1002 posts) -

I certainly wish it looked like your version than the one they have, they should hire you, that's a great design. The new one feels so intrusive and having to pay for a service PLASTERED with ads is disheartening. ... :(

#6 Edited by Enigma777 (6057 posts) -

Personally I really like it. A marked improvement over the previous one (which was a fucking chore to navigate).  
 
The only thing I don't like is the Bing search which has been fucking useless so far (couldn't find 3/3 queries I imputed like "Inside Xbox"). Also I'm not bothered by the ads in the regular interface, but the ads in the search results are just gross. 

#7 Posted by JoeyRavn (4946 posts) -

I like it, I find it more practical and better suited to my needs. I must be doing something wrong, right?

#8 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1082 posts) -
@JeanLuc said:

I wouldn't use the word trainwreck, But I do find the ads being bigger then "Play Disc" pretty lame.

I did say "slightly". :p
#9 Edited by phish09 (1109 posts) -

I don't necessarily disagree with any of your points, aside from this:

"It just means you don't give the advertisements top billing - something Microsoft probably isn't willing to do."

Should read: "It just means you don't give the advertisements top billing - something Advertisers aren't willing to pay for".

At the end of the day, Microsoft is running a business and they are going to run it in a way that makes them the most money. If you don't like the new dashboard, stop using your XBOX so much, and they will change it, I guarantee you. These advertisements mean nothing if people aren't going to see them. Also, another option, set it to start up disc right away when you turn on your console. If enough people do that, it will send a loud and clear message that this update is a failure and needs to be redesigned to appease it's users.

It's good to articulate your opinions on the new dashboard the way you did, but at the end of the day it means nothing unless you do something about it, as I stated above.

Also, given that you're a Sonic fan, I feel morally obligated to disagree with you.

#10 Posted by OldGuy (1492 posts) -

...and how do I disable the popup box I get 90% of the time I exit a Steam game that is nothing but an advertisement? Anybody know?
 
Better yet, how do i get the Steam client to auto-unload from memory when exiting a game?

#11 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1082 posts) -
@phish09 said:
Also, given that you're a Sonic fan, I feel morally obligated to disagree with you.
I am giving you such a stinkeye.
#13 Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie (1225 posts) -

It's fine. Certainly not worth such a long winded analysis. I can take it or leave it.

#14 Posted by Sogeman (862 posts) -

They're getting worse with every iteration.

#15 Edited by Ehker (235 posts) -

@BlazeHedgehog said:

A bit of a rough draft, but workable

Pretty slick! You know MS would want the advertisement row thicker. ;) Stil, users could easily spot differences between functionality and the ad row, not a confusing scattering of ads in different areas and sizes.

#17 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

If Microsoft had it their way, "Play Game" wouldn't even be a picture to take up ever valuable ad space.

They would have you just press Start + A. Or both bumpers at the same time.

Get to it, Microshills

#18 Posted by OldGuy (1492 posts) -
@rebgav said:

@OldGuy said:

...and how do I disable the popup box I get 90% of the time I exit a Steam game that is nothing but an advertisement? Anybody know?

Settings > Interface - Deselect "Notify me..."

WooHoo! :-)
#19 Edited by RedRocketWestie (381 posts) -

A lot of your points are valid criticism that I hadn't considered, but ultimately, I think this design DOES fit the way people use their 360. Even among people who primarily use their console for games (probably a flat or even declining proportion of console owners), how many are digging deep into their back catalog? Most people are probably going to play 3 or 4 games that they've purchased recently until they're done with them, and then move on to new stuff. Launching the disc and the quick launch probably covers 95%+ of those cases. I'm not saying your concerns are invalid, or even that they shouldn't be addressed, but your "$400 worth of content, most of which I've uninstalled but still want to play" is an edge case, you must admit.

Yes, it's kind of an ugly mishmash ending up from a strategic push to get everything to have this "metro" visual style. But it's functionally all there, and in some cases, improved. I like having quickplay up front, and having it include non-games. That's a big step up. Honestly, I think having ads take up the most space actually makes sense. I know what disc is in the machine. I don't need a gigantic picture telling me. It's wasted space. Ads might be visual clutter, but at least they're presenting potentially novel information to me.

As for navigation, I'm optimistic that the bing page can help to alleviate some of the "drill-down" problems they have (and have had for some time) in the marketplace. For stuff you didn't know you wanted, there's ads. Granted, 95%+ of the ads are going to be big-budget stuff that a non-casual gamer will undoubtedly have already heard of: that big central block isn't going to have Wizorb in it anytime soon. But if I already know what I'm looking for, a search engine makes a lot more sense than browsing an alphabetical list.

Bottom line: you're not wrong. There are some issues, and a lot of potential improvements. But most of the problems were completely invisible to me until you pointed them out (thanks for that, by the way ;) ). It's mostly at least as good as the dashboard ever was.

#20 Posted by deerokus (531 posts) -

Good post, and a small note - in some places it's even worse; in the UK we have to scroll through THREE sections to get to games.  Social, TV and Video.  The 'TV' section is simply Sky Player at the moment, which is only of use to those who pay money to a satellite company.  It's something like eight button presses to get to the listing of XBLA games available to buy.  Incredibly poor.

#21 Posted by csl316 (7963 posts) -

Hey, I S-ranked Sonic Generations, too.  Good work, sir.

#22 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

When have you heard about two trains that have only slighty hit each other

#23 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3048 posts) -

Nice Shelley reference.

#24 Posted by Strud (23 posts) -

I've been using the new dashboard for about a month. I don't have a problem with the new design - it is much better in many ways. It is quite easy to ignore the adverts but I like to know what is new on the XBLive service so reading them is useful. Surprisingly, I find Kinect voice commands the easiest way to navigate, especially when you learn the options.

#25 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

@Strud said:

I've been using the new dashboard for about a month. I don't have a problem with the new design - it is much better in many ways. It is quite easy to ignore the adverts but I like to know what is new on the XBLive service so reading them is useful. Surprisingly, I find Kinect voice commands the easiest way to navigate, especially when you learn the options.

Im thinking about getting a Kinect just to play around with the voice stuff and go all minority report with my menus. Im with you, I really like the new dash and I don't even pay attention to the ads. My eyes are drawn to the mostly solid colored blocks that represent all my content, so I go right past the ads.

#26 Posted by Afroman269 (7387 posts) -

It's my favorite one, that middle panel is used to show off the new shit that's for sale like new games, movies, and music. I see no problem with seeing the highlights in the marketplace. People always have to be overly-dramatic like the people who flood your Facebook news feed with bitching and whining every time Facebook changes the layout.

#27 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8060 posts) -

Its a business, obnoxious advertising is a part of it.

#28 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

The new dash is inferior in like every single way. It definitely sucks.

Beacon is a neat feature, but kind of pointless.

Edit: Ultimately I don't really care, but it does seem a step back. I don't understand why they bothered putting Bing there.

#29 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I like it. My Xbox 360 seems to boot up a lot faster and then I just click and play. My Xbox 360 also seems to boot up the game if I place the disk in the drive before the dashboard loads up. The last dashboard would always send my to an advert first.

#30 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@Claude said:

I like it. My Xbox 360 seems to boot up a lot faster and then I just click and play. My Xbox 360 also seems to boot up the game if I place the disk in the drive before the dashboard loads up. The last dashboard would always send my to an advert first.

The old dashboard did that too, but you had to turn the console on, eject the tray, wait a few seconds and then close, then it would load the game skipping the dash.

#31 Posted by Bakath (32 posts) -

The Adverts need to go, I do not care if they want to have one on the games tab to shows whats on special this week, that's fine. I do not need to know about new cars and or anything else on any other screen on the dash!.

#32 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

@Sooty said:

@Claude said:

I like it. My Xbox 360 seems to boot up a lot faster and then I just click and play. My Xbox 360 also seems to boot up the game if I place the disk in the drive before the dashboard loads up. The last dashboard would always send my to an advert first.

The old dashboard did that too, but you had to turn the console on, eject the tray, wait a few seconds and then close, then it would load the game skipping the dash.

Oh heck, I didn't know that.

#33 Posted by Twisted_Scot (1174 posts) -

I press (A).

I press (A) again.

I play my game.

#34 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

You can't have a "slight" trainwreck. That's like saying "a minor holocaust."

#35 Posted by FritzDude (2249 posts) -

For me it's faster to navigate. Every tab loads up faster (especially the system section), and having it started on "play game" is great. That's enough for me to say that this is an improvement over the last one.

#36 Posted by ballblaster (75 posts) -

This thread should be locked.

#37 Posted by charlie_victor_bravo (919 posts) -

You could fit everything one needs to one or two pages if they used the whole screen and not just half of it.

#38 Posted by RedRocketWestie (381 posts) -

@charlie_victor_bravo said:

You could fit everything one needs to one or two pages if they used the whole screen and not just half of it.

Now this would be a trainwreck. No offense; your heart is in the right place, but this is not good design.

I dunno. People will always find something to hate about something new. It's inevitable. But personally, I feel like the update is net positive. It's not perfect. I'm not going to say it's the best thing ever. But there are more steps forward than steps back.

#39 Posted by RobertOrri (1118 posts) -

I agree wholeheartedly. Each interface revision has had the net effect of being a worse user experience than what came before. More ads, more menus you have to dig through (each of them serving you more ads), far less comfort.

#40 Posted by Clubvodka (410 posts) -

Good write up! But dude seriously, Steam games need to ordered my genre! It's the only way!

#41 Posted by Insectecutor (1176 posts) -

The solution to most of this dickery in the old dash was to disable auto-sign in. No ads, no bullshit, disc game highlighted on boot. Then when the game starts it says "hey sign in" and you press A.

Haven't tried the new dash yet, but they put the focus on the game in the drive on startup even when you auto sign-in, and that's good enough for me.

#42 Posted by phantomzxro (1558 posts) -

I would have to agree every new design makes it harder and harder to just get to what matters as far as games go. I don't like that the game section is three to fours taps over and that finding your games is a bit of a chore but it so easy to run into ads and social apps. There are too many options and categories that look the same or have a similar function.

Also why is launching a game and recent games played among the smallest boxes in the ad space. It just seems weird to have these ads boxes mixed in with the systems functions boxes. I like your mock up and layout where a have a one stop place to access all my gaming needs. I just like more defined sections of games, music, video and social i just want to pop into area and feel like all my option related to that area is there.

Anyway i will say its workable but just a little messy for me, i wish that at the very least they should allow gold members to arrange their categories a little to their liking.

#43 Posted by snorggy (13 posts) -

I'm not a heavy enough 360 user to dissect all your criticisms, but I do agree that the emphasis on selling me stuff instead of showing me the contents of my system is pretty annoying. That said, I kinda of like the layout and feel of the new dash, even if it's not the most efficient.

#44 Posted by Grimluck343 (1146 posts) -

I'll never be happy until the blades make their triumphant return!

No, seriously, I'm one of like four people on earth that loved the blades.

#45 Posted by Slaker117 (4835 posts) -
@Grimluck343 said:

I'll never be happy until the blades make their triumphant return!

No, seriously, I'm one of like four people on earth that loved the blades.

The blades are still the best dash the 360 has ever had, and Microsoft knows it. Just hit the guide button and you'll see how much better they are.
#46 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

The blades sucked. They also never left, so i don't understand why people keep saying they want them back. Hit the guide button and go about your business.

The more I use the new dash, the more I like it.

#47 Posted by Punk1984 (549 posts) -

I would like to read your ideas comparing the new Xbox dash and the PS3's

#48 Posted by CandiBunni (465 posts) -

@Slaker117 said:

@Grimluck343 said:

I'll never be happy until the blades make their triumphant return!

No, seriously, I'm one of like four people on earth that loved the blades.

The blades are still the best dash the 360 has ever had, and Microsoft knows it. Just hit the guide button and you'll see how much better they are.

I miss this so much. :(

#49 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2102 posts) -

Its nice that you can start the game without going through a bar of ads, but I am also happy that I own a playstation 3. The cross media bar was and is way better than the xbox 360's dashboard. Way too many ads, too cluttered, and now there is just more of both of them.

#50 Posted by Synthballs (2193 posts) -

@WickedCobra03: The XMB is brilliant.

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