Major Xbox Live Update Coming by End of the Year

Posted by at 9:02 am on August 22, 2011

Microsoft will be unveiling a complete revamp of its Xbox 360 dashboard layout before the end of the year, making the interface cleaner and more intuitive to navigate. And speaking of being intuitive, users will be able to interact with it using voice and hand gestures, in addition to more traditional remote controls, with the addition of a Kinect unit.

“Thanks to Bing, Kinect and our voice recognition technology, we envision a future where the words “Hey, where’s the remote?” are as outdated as eight-track tapes and rotary telephones,” Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president, Microsoft said in a statement.

There is a growing catalog of about 20,000 content items on the Xbox Marketplace, so the revamp is designed to organize what might otherwise feel like clutter. Another more long-range catalyst, however, is the broader demographics among the 35 million Xbox Live members worldwide who are using the Xbox 360 to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, movies and television programs through the Zune service, and other Internet-delivered content.

Social features are being expanded, too, with Facebook integration and a feature called Beacons that allows gamers to alert friends and potential competitors about what title they’re playing at the moment.

Attendees were given a preview of the interface at Gamescom in Germany by Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live product marketing manager for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

“Hopefully the new dash will show this service proposition goes beyond gaming,” he said. “We’ll never lose our focus on that gaming audience. In fact, developing the investment infrastructure to develop programs like cloud storage and Facebook posting and the Beacons, are three examples of continuing to invest in that space.”

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