Posted by: kurtsh | June 7, 2006

RELEASE: XBox 360’s new console software

It seems that everyone and their mother has copied the XBox 360 news posting about the bazillion and a half features we added to XBox 360’s console.  Instead of rehashing the same story everyone else has been posting (you can read the features list here: I thought I’d comment on the 5 features that I think everyone SHOULD pay attention to.
    While this may seem lame, the 360 was unable to downlaod anything while you did something else like play a game or listen to music.  It was literally unable to multitask these two tasks which was lame as hell.  The Xbox team heard the feed back and made the process multi-threaded… and thank god they did because if they hadn’t, I’m sure Sony or Nintendo would have had something better.

    Now you can cache up 6 downloads at a time and download that 150MB Halo 3 trailer, the Fight Night Round 3 demo, and the Theme for Kameo, all while you play Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter multiplayer.

    A theme is a ‘skin’ that sits atop the UI of the Xbox360 console.  You can make your console’s UI look like anything you want using these downloadable themes.  I right now have a "Halo 3" theme loaded on my Xbox360 so when I turn it on, the console screen doesn’t look anything like the normal Xbox360 screen.

    The problem was that it used to take an act of congress to be able to change your theme.  If you didn’t know where or how to change your consoles theme, you were screwed because it was hidden way into the UI.  Hell – I work for the company and I couldn’t figure it out.  Now it’s very easy to find in the System blade of the console screen.

    I consider this important because it’s really a nice feature and I don’t think anyone was using it because no one could figure out how to get to the config screen for it.

    If your XBox360 screensaver kicks in, your online status automatically gets set to "Away" so that people know you’ve stepped out and are away from the console.

    Before, people would IM you and try to invite you to games, not knowing you were eating dinner or in the bathroom.

    I don’t think anyone understands why this is important.  It will be possible using the XBox 360 Vision Camera accessory coming this fall, to take your own photo and post it to Xbox Live account’s personal gamer photo.  This way people aren’t looking at a comic or an avatar when they see you online.  They’ll actually see your face… but this will be restricted initially to just your "friends".  In other words, the general public will see a totally different photo/gamer picture by default.
    When you switch from the game to the console and back, your music continues to play from the Media Player in Xbox 360’s console, without interruption.  It was REALLY annoying playing a game or listening to some music in a game, then having someone IM you, and have the music suddenly STOP.


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