The Xbox 360 Fall 2012 Update

Posted by Colorwind (277 posts) -

After a week of waiting, I got this year’s dashboard update for the Xbox 360. I’m one of the apparently few people who actually looks forward to the dashboard updates. See, my Xbox 360 is my main source of entertainment as well and I rely on the 360’s ability to stream content from my computer as well as its apps to watch shows and movies. I don’t even watch normal TV anymore and most of my time is spent on Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube. Since the introduction of apps last year, I’ve been wishing and hoping for Blip.TV, College Humor, and Dorkly apps. So when the new dashboard was outlined, I was excited when Internet Explorer was announced. It may not be apps but I could at least watch videos on those sites through the web browser. I’m also a bit OCD so a more organized interface and marketplace is also appealing to me.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the updates given to the dashboard but there’s still problems. First the good things. I like that more of the screen is being used for the icons. I like that everything is bigger and more clearer due to the text being more crisp and in contrasting fonts. I like the new Pins feature. If I’m going to bury something in a menu, at least let me customize it. I like that the bottom of the dashboard isn’t a solid color anymore. I can see my custom background image on the bottom again. I noticed that the menus tend to load quicker than before. This is also good. Also, the menu you get when pushing the Xbox button has been streamlined with one blade removed in the process. Finally, the Games Marketplace devotes a page each to On Demand, Arcade and Indie games, making things much easier to find.

Now for the bad. Most importantly of all, the Internet Explorer app sucks. I can’t watch videos from any of the three sites I mentioned before and as such, is useless to me. I don’t have much interest in checking my Facebook and Twitter from there so IE on the 360 is a missed opportunity. Continuing on, there are more ads than ever on the dashboard and it makes me wonder why I pay $60 a year for Xbox Live. Also, the metro layout is still a waste of space in my opinion. All these squares taking up space that I would rather see in a more minimalist setup that is less gaudy and allows me to see my background image. Xbox Music is useless since you have to pay $10 a month for it and I can’t use it while playing a game or just surfing online or browsing the dashboard and marketplace. They also removed the option to see all games at once regardless of them being an arcade, indie or retail title.

At this point the various attempts to fix the dashboard have all yielded benefits and problems. I think that Microsoft, for its next update, should bring back the two previous layouts, the blades and the NXE layouts, and allow gamers to choose between the three in the settings menu. Make a few tweaks so ads and some of the new features can be incorporated into the older layouts and let us choose what we want. I know many will want to go back to the NXE layout and a few would even go back to the blades layout. Allowing us to tweak some things like transparency for some aspects of the design and color themes would also be nice.

What do you think of the new Xbox 360 Dashboard update? Love it, hate it, impartial to it? Let me know what you think and why in the comments below!

#1 Posted by Colorwind (277 posts) -

After a week of waiting, I got this year’s dashboard update for the Xbox 360. I’m one of the apparently few people who actually looks forward to the dashboard updates. See, my Xbox 360 is my main source of entertainment as well and I rely on the 360’s ability to stream content from my computer as well as its apps to watch shows and movies. I don’t even watch normal TV anymore and most of my time is spent on Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube. Since the introduction of apps last year, I’ve been wishing and hoping for Blip.TV, College Humor, and Dorkly apps. So when the new dashboard was outlined, I was excited when Internet Explorer was announced. It may not be apps but I could at least watch videos on those sites through the web browser. I’m also a bit OCD so a more organized interface and marketplace is also appealing to me.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the updates given to the dashboard but there’s still problems. First the good things. I like that more of the screen is being used for the icons. I like that everything is bigger and more clearer due to the text being more crisp and in contrasting fonts. I like the new Pins feature. If I’m going to bury something in a menu, at least let me customize it. I like that the bottom of the dashboard isn’t a solid color anymore. I can see my custom background image on the bottom again. I noticed that the menus tend to load quicker than before. This is also good. Also, the menu you get when pushing the Xbox button has been streamlined with one blade removed in the process. Finally, the Games Marketplace devotes a page each to On Demand, Arcade and Indie games, making things much easier to find.

Now for the bad. Most importantly of all, the Internet Explorer app sucks. I can’t watch videos from any of the three sites I mentioned before and as such, is useless to me. I don’t have much interest in checking my Facebook and Twitter from there so IE on the 360 is a missed opportunity. Continuing on, there are more ads than ever on the dashboard and it makes me wonder why I pay $60 a year for Xbox Live. Also, the metro layout is still a waste of space in my opinion. All these squares taking up space that I would rather see in a more minimalist setup that is less gaudy and allows me to see my background image. Xbox Music is useless since you have to pay $10 a month for it and I can’t use it while playing a game or just surfing online or browsing the dashboard and marketplace. They also removed the option to see all games at once regardless of them being an arcade, indie or retail title.

At this point the various attempts to fix the dashboard have all yielded benefits and problems. I think that Microsoft, for its next update, should bring back the two previous layouts, the blades and the NXE layouts, and allow gamers to choose between the three in the settings menu. Make a few tweaks so ads and some of the new features can be incorporated into the older layouts and let us choose what we want. I know many will want to go back to the NXE layout and a few would even go back to the blades layout. Allowing us to tweak some things like transparency for some aspects of the design and color themes would also be nice.

What do you think of the new Xbox 360 Dashboard update? Love it, hate it, impartial to it? Let me know what you think and why in the comments below!

#2 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4468 posts) -

Huh, I didn't even think there would be that much to talk about for this update because it isn't all that substantial. I would hate having to be stuck with the 360 as my sole entertainment device especially considering how sluggish the thing when it comes to just navigating the menus.

#3 Posted by laserbolts (5345 posts) -

I'm still trying to decide if I like it more or not. It really isn't that much of a change and the thing is still as slow as always. Internet Explorer is a nice addition even though I will never use it.

Online
#4 Posted by Aleryn (705 posts) -

So far I prefer it. Yeah IE isn't the best but I'm enjoying it for low power web browsing. I wasn't expecting much considering how bad the Wii browser now is, and how odd I personally find the PS3 browser to be. I am being an apologist for it, but I just don't expect much from console browsers.

#5 Posted by Demoskinos (15097 posts) -

Its still a mess to navigate but I like it visually more than the last one.

#6 Posted by ptc (621 posts) -

I find the whole thing slower, overall. There is now a noticeable "boot time" for me after I turn on my system. Don't like that. The rest is fine. The advertisements aren't bad at all (to me). I would use IE a lot more if it had flash.

#7 Posted by WilliamHenry (1205 posts) -

To me it seems like they redesigned it for the sole purpose of putting more ads on your screen. I still find having ads everywhere when I'm paying $60 a year to be total bullshit.

#8 Posted by mlarrabee (3029 posts) -

The IE thing will be fixed eventually, but not by Microsoft's inclusion of Flash support. Just remember the iPad.

HTML5, baby...

It's very nice to see a review that actually reviews. It helps counterbalance the "its M$ and so it sux because its M$ cuz M$!"

#9 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Bring the blades back!

#10 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

NXE is still the best dash. God fucking damn it Metro is a pile of shit on anything that isn't a phone. (tablet remains to be seen)

I'd be happy if blades came back, as long as the in-game guide is okay. Remember how slow that thing used to be? It's still pretty slow now but holy shit it was horrible way back when.

#11 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

Microsoft will never go back or let you choose because they make a lot of money off of ads.

My perspective is that I really don't give two shits what the dashboard looks like. It's still super easy for me to quickly play a game, make a party, see who's online, and send invites. I don't use my 360 for anything other than games because I have my PC hooked up to my TV, but even when I didn't the only interface that I really cared about was the Netflix one, and that thing is a giant turd now.

I will never understand why anyone would want to use IE or Youtube on their Xbox. The only way I could see that being something you should do is if you don't actually have a computer in your house.

#12 Posted by TheVeteran13 (1218 posts) -

Seeing the blades brings back awesome memories of 2007 when things were new and exciting.

#13 Edited by DocHaus (1359 posts) -

I'm starting to think that this is going to be my last re-up of XBOX Gold. This shit is getting re-donk-uluous, paying $40-60 for ads and apps that I barely use (and still show ads anyways because fuck you that's why) and now the actual game part of the gaming console has become an afterthought. The new gamer rewards program (yay, a whole 25 cents worth of MSP for my birthday!) is just the spoiled icing on top of the shit sundae.

#14 Posted by Colorwind (277 posts) -

@mlarrabee: Thanks. I try not to hate on things in gaming so much.

@DoctorWelch: I think that if the modify the old dashboards to include ads and the new features that have been released since then, Microsoft would consider bringing back the old layouts. I have my computer hooked up to my TV too but using the Xbox 360 is just so much more convienient. Also, I use YouTube and would've used IE because I want to watch web shows on a big screen, like The Guild or Classic Game Room or other stuff. I like to pick one of my playlists and just let it run and watch a bunch of videos on the Sega Saturn or something.

#15 Posted by Indiana_Jenkins (395 posts) -

THEY FINALLY CACHE YOUR GAMES LIBRARY! That one thing alone makes this update worthwhile. The IE app is fine. It supports HTML 5, which has a better looking future than Flash. The games section is slightly better layed out with categories, but ads are out of control. But the real problem for me is: I hardly use my Xbox.

#16 Posted by MrRedwine (430 posts) -

It amazes me that people complain about the ads so much. Do you pay for a newspaper? Does it have ads? Do you pay for cable TV? Does it have ads? Entertainment and news have been ad AND subscription supported FOREVER! Get over it.

As for your review. I agree with the things you said. It is a fine little revision despite having problems.

#17 Posted by ConfusedOwl (961 posts) -

Microsoft knows me well, I love massive ads on my dashboard (I'm so glad I stopped paying for gold).

#18 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Colorwind: I find that clicking the input button and up twice on my remote to access my computer on my TV saves more time because bringing up a browser and clicking Netflix or YouTube is 100x faster than trying to watching bring up any app on my Xbox. Plus I get access to all internet content and it's super fast. If I'm watching a GB video and quickly want to look at my email I can just pause, and click on my email.

Ever since I hooked my PC up to my TV my Xbox has gone the way of my PS3 in that it only gets turned on when I actually want to play a game on it. Which, with games like Darksiders II and Sleeping Dogs hitting under $20 less than 2 months after release, happens much less often than it used to.

#19 Posted by Colorwind (277 posts) -

@DoctorWelch: I don't have that kind of convienience. I don't have a keyboard or mouse by me if I'm laying down or sitting someplace else and the remote I have doesn't give me that many options. Plus I have to switch the input to either show my computer display on my TV or both my TV and computer monitor. It's a hassle. I have XBMC for video files but I haven't got that to work with web sites yet.

#20 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

@Colorwind: Seems like you have a pretty crazy setup there. I'm just using my TV as a second monitor by using a DVI to HDMI cord from my video card to the TV. Super simple.

#21 Posted by WilliamHenry (1205 posts) -

@MrRedwine said:

It amazes me that people complain about the ads so much. Do you pay for a newspaper? Does it have ads? Do you pay for cable TV? Does it have ads? Entertainment and news have been ad AND subscription supported FOREVER! Get over it.

As for your review. I agree with the things you said. It is a fine little revision despite having problems.

Paying for cable is different as your money goes to the cable provider, not the content creators. TV networks don't make their money through cable subscriptions, they make it off of commercials. If HBO made money through commercials while still forcing you to subscribe to access it, then your argument would make sense. As for newspapers, they're like 35 cents? So who cares about ads in something that cheap? And who actually still reads the newspaper?

#22 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

I think it's a joke. It's so cluttered and full of ads. I should have to tab over anywhere to access games on a game console. The fact that basic services like Netflix are locked behind a paywall is ridiculous. I get stuff like that for free on my PS3.

I wish Microsoft would make better decisions with their 360 software, because I like the hardware just fine. The continued gross-ing up of the dashboard just makes me use my 360 less and less, and use my PS3 more and more.

#23 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

*shouldn't have to tab over (obviously)

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