The latest Xbox dashboard update has been released for Xbox Live Gold members! According to Microsoft, this Xbox Live update will be delivered at random to consoles signing in on Xbox Live, sometime over the next few days.
Most of the new features relate to cosmetic improvements, and work to create an overall “cleaner” experience. The new dashboard displays a maximum of three tabs, per menu, on screen at a time, which creates faster loading times and, surprisingly enough, easier navigation. If you remember the previous dashboard then you know there were quite a few more tabs on screen to slide through.
There are additional features however that will improve the overall Xbox Live experience. Some of the minor touch-ups include improved voice communication, an improved gamertag creation system, an improved virtual keyboard, an improved marketplace interface, and a new game completion and achievement browsing experience.
But with the latest dashboard comes probably one of the biggest inclusions Microsoft has added in to an Xbox Live update. ESPN on-demand support for Xbox Live.
Yes, you heard me correctly. ESPN will now be streamed on Xbox Live. Microsoft boasts rather plainly on the official update site that the feature will support “3,500 sporting events” every year including “out-of-market” games, meaning the smaller games you don’t see on a normal television broadcast. The new ESPN streaming will also feature full HD content, DVR/on-demand playback controls, and a wide selection of gameplay and highlight clips. Users can voice-chat with other Live friends while watching a game broadcast and collect in a group (total of 7) to have a new experience with friends without having to leave home. There is also a cool score and information ticker displayed on-screen that informs on additional game stats. Not to mention users can also predict game scores before the game has finished and follow a specific team or league under a settings menu that will display important status messages when using the Xbox for other means.
On top of the ESPN streaming support the new dashboard will also provide some new Net-Flix support. More specifically Microsoft has implemented a streamline search function (displays results as you type) to make it easier for users to navigate through available movies and videos.
The official release for the update was scheduled for November 4, 2010 but it appears the update process has already begun. By the end of the week users can likely expect most XBOX Live users to have fully updated NXE dashboards.
Oh, and we almost forgot… the new update also adds support for the Microsoft Kinect device.
Note: It also appears the modding community has erupted with speculation that the new update will also implement an on-the-fly DVD drive firmware check. This means all you users who have flashed custom DVD firmware, stay away from the update until more information has been released. Otherwise you will feel the pain of Microsoft’s almighty BAN hammer!
Just a reiteration from above: the update will be available to all users with Xbox Live Gold memberships. To get it, just sign in to Xbox Live and wait for the console to prompt for an update.
We have created a forum thread on the new Xbox Live Update! Please register and come join the discussion. Let us know how you feel about the latest Gold update. Are you excited about the ESPN streaming support? What would you have rather seen implemented in this update? Please visit the forum discussion in this thread!