At some point today, Microsoft will issue an update for the Xbox 360 that will roll out the latest set of changes to its gaming console, most prominently a new visual theme styled after the Metro interface on display in Windows Phone 7 and the Windows 8 Developer Preview. This is the first major interface change the system has seen since 2008's "New Xbox Experience" update, which itself replaced the older "blade" interface that shipped with the console. 

In addition to the interface update, smaller, less visible changes abound: Kinect voice control allows you to navigate the console and most of its apps. Bing integration will search the console, the marketplace, and even apps for games, music, video, and other content. Beacons let you see what your friends want to play on the console and on Facebook, theoretically facilitating multiplayer matchmaking (you'll be able to share Achievements to Facebook as well). Xbox Live gamertags, profiles, and game saves are now also saveable to the cloud (which gives you about 512MB of storage space), allowing you to access this data from any Xbox 360 you sign in to. A number of TV networks will be bringing their content to the 360 (though, as with ESPN's launch earlier this year, what is and isn't available will depend on a number of different conditions, including your ISP's support). The list, which also includes some 3D support and Skype integration, goes on.

Especially given that the Xbox just turned six years old, this is a surprisingly thorough and far-reaching software update, and it emphasizes Microsoft's strength and experience as a software company (despite their hardware's teething issues). It should be available to all Xbox 360 owners soon, if it isn't already.

Source: Microsoft

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  • THizzle7XU - Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - link

    What else do you need the Cloud Saves space for other than saves?

    Everything else on Live can always be downloaded again, with the exception of a few old arcade games that weren't that popular. And these are listed in your download history tied to your account for easy access. So you've always had "the cloud" for everything BUT saves.

    And the average save file is like a few hundred KB. You would need like 1000 games saves to fill it up. And at that point, I think you have bigger problems.

    The only thing you can't download is the game installs, which wouldn't make sense since you need the disc anyways and reading the disc for an install is going to be faster than any Internet connection downloading 6-7GB.

    You're complaint is completely moot.
  • THizzle7XU - Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - link

    Oh, and if you already bought those "unpopular" arcade games, they will also appear in your DL history, and can be downloaded. You just can't buy those games anymore.
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - link

    Where does it say you need to pay for it?
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Looks like a mix of Zune and Windows 8 to me.
  • Golgatha - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    it looks a lot like the PS3 interface with an XBox skin. The only difference is you have rectangular boxes of content instead of a scroll down menu.
  • GoSharks - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Microsoft has been working on this interface for far longer than the PS3 has been out. See: Portable Media Center (If not Media Center)
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Personally, I find the PS3 interface a bit of a pain to navigate through. Especially in menus containing many items, you've got a lot of vertical scrolling to do, and particularly in the system settings menu I find myself having to constantly drill down into a few of them before I find what I'm looking for.

    Sony's XMB is a striking, minimalist interface, but it doesn't make the best use of all the pixels available to it, and it hasn't been refined much over the last six years (to say nothing of the constant updates and, for non-PlayStation Plus subscribers, the lack of an auto-update feature).
  • gevorg - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Metro is awesome! Time to stop using that ancient Xerox technology with lifeless 2D icons.
  • eman17j - Thursday, December 8, 2011 - link

    Hello that is an flat rectangle which is 2 dimensional
  • augiem - Thursday, December 8, 2011 - link

    Icons = recognizability.

    I can look at anyone's windows desktop and easily pick out program shortcuts, different types of files, etc. within milliseconds of glancing at it. Can you do the same with text tiles? Maybe the tiles that have unique graphics on them and not just a solid color, but isn't that just an icon?

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