Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New XBOX 360 Experience

I've had a chance to play around with the new XBOX experience and I have a few thoughts on it.

The Good:
  • Game list loads really fast. The old system took forever to populate your list of games. Now it's almost instantaneous. It's great!
  • Performance: Most of the rest of the interface is really quick which is impressive considering all the images and content that's on the screen.
  • Avatars: I think this new feature enhances your experience. It's quite funny when you get an Avatar that looks very similar to its real-life counterpart. Integrating Avatars in some games (like Kingdom for Keflings) works really well.
  • Parties: This option has redefined gaming with friends. It is so useful being able to communicate with friends while navigating menus. Also, friends can join the party while you're playing a game. This allows them to find out how close you are to finishing. It has also fixed the horrible audio issues that we used to experience in NHL 09.
  • The Guide: I prefer using the guide most times. The fact that I'm using the guide while on the dashboard is indicative of my feelings of the new dashboard.
  • Text Scrolling: In the old interface, if there was descriptive text on the right that was longer than a page, you would have to wait for 5 - 10 seconds for it to start scrolling down on its own. This was annoying if I quickly wanted to check out a description. In the new experience, I can scroll myself using the right stick.

The Bad:

  • Avatar Load-time: Avatars sometimes take awhile to appear/load.
  • Friends List: To see who is online, you have to scroll to the right. Each friend has his/her own tile. This is not efficient at all. They need a better way to display friends. I usually end up using the Guide's friend's list instead.
  • No Netflix in Canada: This really sucks. I'd get the service in a second if given the opportunity. I hope Netflix expands to Canada or another company offers a similar service in Canada.
  • Spotlight: I find that I no longer check out any of the videos in the Spotlight section. The old interface had Inside XBOX which had an indicator whenever there was new content. I used to review this all the time. No longer because of the interface.

The Ugly:

  • Dizziness: Sometimes I find myself getting a little dizzy when flipping through the tiles in the new XBOX experience.
  • Crashing: The new XBOX experience froze on me once. I've heard of others experiencing these issues. Luckily I haven't seen it too often.

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