After a few weeks of giving some Xbox Gamers an early peek at this update – the entire Xbox Live Community will have access to it in about 72 hours. The update is scheduled to arrive on 11 August and will prompt you to install it at some point that day when you log into your Xbox console.
This new update is packed with new features but a few are missing this release and will be out later on.
Some of the update highlights from the Xbox Live Updates page:
- Games on Demand
- Shop– Games on Demand are found in the Game Marketplace and include a large library of favorite titles right from the start. More titles are added every Tuesday, so check back whenever you’re in the mood for a great new game.
- Purchase – Purchase full games using Microsoft points or a credit card. Games are downloaded directly to your console (hard drive required), and your purchase history is stored by Xbox LIVE, meaning you can delete games and re-download them again if you run out of space.
- Playing and Sharing - As with other LIVE content, your game license is linked to your Xbox LIVE account. Download your purchased games to any console you are logged into with your Gamertag, and anyone else can play on the console that your game was originally downloaded to. No physical disc is required to play these games!
- Find Manuals – Game manuals can be viewed, downloaded, or printed from Xbox.com. Just locate your game in Web Marketplace and select “See Game Manual”.
- Avatar Props – Equip your avatar with animated items they can interact with and carry around.
- Avatar Marketplace – Reflect your sense of style with the new Avatar Marketplace. Download and purchase premium items, including branded apparel from your favorite fashion labels and Xbox 360 games.
- Party Watch – Catch a show with your friends! Bring your party into Netflix and watch a movie or TV show together. (Feature available with supported titles.)
- Find Content Faster – Browse through New Releases and other genre lists based on the types of shows you’ve previously watched, all from the comfort of your couch.
- Improved Playback Experience – Improvements have been made to ensure a better experience when adapting to changing network conditions.
- Improved Presence – Richer information is now displayed in the Friends channel and in the Guide showing what you and your friends are watching.
- User Ratings
- How It Works – Every piece of game content on Marketplace can now be rated using a 5-star system. Just open up the details on what you want to rate and choose the Rate button. Each time you press the Rate button, you add one star to your personal rating.
- Sort by Ratings – Find great games, demos, and more that you might have missed out on. Just visit Browse All in the Game Marketplace and click on “Top Rated” to see what everyone’s been talking about.
- UI Improvements
- Indie Games – We listened to our community and have decided to rename Xbox LIVE Community Games to Xbox LIVE Indie Games. This new name better represents the independent spirit of these titles. User ratings are also available for Indie Games, allowing you to share your rating for a game and use ratings from others to find great new games.
- Achievement Browser – Launch a game directly from the Achievement browser making it even easier for you to max out your Gamerscore.
- Achievement Tracking – A new All Games view inside the Profile panel includes a summary of Achievements earned across all the games played, and shows off all your completed games.
- Achievements – Check out the changes to the Achievement browser while playing a game. It’s now much easier to read through all the achievements so you can rack up that Gamerscore.
- Streamlined Navigation – New entry points in the Dashboard for Active Downloads, Redeem Code, Auto Sign-In (via Profile), Create Profile, and Recover Gamertag are included, so that these features are easier to find.
- Voice Messages – When recording a voice message, a warning is now displayed if no audio is detected so you don’t accidentally send blank messages to your friends.
And those features/integration that will come later include:
- Zune Video
I have been running the update for about 2 weeks now and it is superb. Although it is in no means the type of change that the NXE was last year this one certainly tweaks several areas for better functionality and that is quite welcomed.