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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  • RallyMaster - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Anyone try this yet? I'm wondering if I should boot up my 360 and get that mess updated.
  • raskren - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    No, it's not out yet. It was supposed to be released at 10 AM Eastern today but that didn't happen. No word on when the rollout will take place.
  • psaus - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    exactly... why AnandTech didn't know this before posting this article is beyond me. Nice one guys...
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - link

    Leads with "At some point today..."

    Ends with "should be available soon, if it isn't already."
  • eman17j - Thursday, December 8, 2011 - link

    I hate windows 8 it is ugly and looks like building blocks for retarded kids. Now they are going to pollute my xbox with that crap?
  • iamkyle - Thursday, December 8, 2011 - link dashboard fixes the choppy startup splash!
  • jabber - Friday, December 9, 2011 - link

    Cant say I'm that impressed. MS have never seem to get the navigation right for the 360.

    It's still all over the place.

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