Xbox Dashboard Update Preview

Xbox Dashboard Update Preview

By Christopher Monfette - Posted Sep 29, 2010
In preparation for the release of the Kinect, Xbox’s dashboard is getting a redesign. We recently got a sneak peek at the upcoming overhaul and came away with a few thoughts on whether the new look and the additional features really add that much to the existing experience…

The most notable difference is that the menus have been squared out and displayed in a linear fashion. Gone are the soft, rounded edges of each sub-screen, laid out in a descending pattern that disappeared into the distance until you cycled them forward. Now, each screen is a right-angled, straightforward affair that progresses directly from left to right. Perhaps this’ll be more impressive when we’re scrolling through menus with a flick of our wrist once the Kinect launches in November, but for the moment, this design change seems to sap some of the personality from the dashboard while adding efficency.

Avatars remain essentially the same, though the design process has been slightly streamlined from the older version. The new lay-out actually makes designing (or redesigning) your Avatar a more visual and engaging experience. The menus and marketplaces are displayed as before, ascending and descending with a healthy choice of sub-windows, and the game marketplace is now significantly easier to search alphabetically by title. Some videos will play in their sub-windows as a preview of the larger, expanded version. Various box art from key examples of each category – genre, most popular, etc. – are displayed three-to-a-window in a neater, more readily identifiable design.

Netflix subscribers will be thrilled to know that the online streaming service is now fully searchable, so there will be no rushing to your laptop to dig beyond the most recent films and TV shows. The service has also undergone the same visual transition into the more linear display, but the increased navigation speed and searchability are a welcome change. Additionally, the ESPN feature proves to be a neatly designed affair, pulling viewers into a “stadium” populated by anxious Avatars looking up at the four or five towering screens from which you’ll choose your favorite sports content.

And with the exception of some non-accessible features that are clearly laying the foundation for Kinect, the only other substantive changes are in the family settings and parental controls, which are now considerably more robust. Overall, the new design is clearly more efficient, but lacks the personality of the dashboard which we’ve always enjoyed. With any luck, once we get the Kinect up to speed, we’ll have more to report on the functionality of the new system’s newest facelift.


Comments are Closed

  • frodolagins42

    why did they have to change the start up to that crap, it was good before it didnt need changing, now whenever i turn my xbox on it gonna have a gay little green thing flying around, the people at micrsoft who come up with this crap should be fired and have to listen to that music for the end of time

    Posted: October 4, 2010 6:42 PM
  • frodolagins42

    wow this looks so gay, what does microsoft think, that everybody who has xbox live is a kid, and that we love all this gay kiddy stuf. when the first dashboard update came i thought it was horrible, still think it is, and this look just as bad, and if that music is on the dashboard all the time im gonna go crazy, the orignal dashboard was great i dont know why they ever changed it, not to mention the money you spend on themes than they became useless,
    just to put it in there the avatars are so stupid and kiddy

    Posted: October 4, 2010 6:31 PM
  • DiSandwich

    "seems to sap some of the personality from the dashboard while adding efficency."

    That has the be the most stupid piece of criticism I have ever seen. Seriously? It's a freaking MENU! Do G4 writers have go to a special school to learn how to be so ridiculous?

    Posted: October 4, 2010 6:29 PM
  • AngelsandDemons

    ...yawn...I'm just not interested in motion control. I go outside or to the gym when I want to be physically active.

    Posted: October 4, 2010 3:19 PM
  • austin43

    The best thing in there is the voice codec update. Xbox Live voice hasn't seen an upgrade in a loooooooooong time.

    Posted: October 4, 2010 2:56 PM
  • austin43

    The best thing in there is the voice codec update. Xbox Live voice hasn't seen an upgrade in a loooooooooong time.

    Posted: October 4, 2010 2:55 PM
  • Luck702

    That music makes me want to go and buy a ps3

    Posted: October 4, 2010 2:29 PM
  • vivaDsancheZ

    Why Dose everybody make such a big deal ! complaining every time they update the dashboard ??? I like the recent interface > And I remember all the bitching when they were changing from the original first dashboard .. And everybody I know loves it .

    Posted: October 3, 2010 9:36 PM
  • ShdwFox

    This is a stupid thing to put on the front page, it must have been a slow day over at G4TV. The only real change here is the aesthetics. It's also slightly more streamlined, but big deal. I would have appreciated it if they somehow made the general menus easier to navigate; rather than having to scroll through them all for certain selections. Or if the video wasn't so boring to watch. That pretty much wraps up the things I can complain about.

    Posted: October 3, 2010 7:50 PM
  • Rebelwolf

    So they stole the start up from a 7up commercial, and I dont like the rest of it much either, when is this supposed to take place?

    Posted: October 3, 2010 6:10 PM
  • Rmoney777

    LMAO craaaap! 360 is losing it man.....ps3 comin up

    Posted: October 3, 2010 4:34 PM
  • KilledFirst

    Sony doesn't have a reason to change the XMB. MS is only changing their dashboard for advertising purposes. If you pay attention to the theme of the Dashboard, it's just one huge advertisement for all the products available through XBOX Live. The original dashboard was ineffective, so they updated it, and now they are updating it even further to better sell individual products. I'd prefer a bland environment where I would have to go out of my way to see advertisements and their associated products, after all, I do have to PAY-TO-PLAY.

    Posted: October 3, 2010 11:12 AM
  • tekchip

    I get that MS is slowly migrating XBL towards the Zune & Phone 7 style of interface and thats fine but who the hell designs these things? I have a massive 1080p display and I still have to view my menu selections in a little box that takes up less than 1/4 of my display. All they had to do was move the highlight zoom to the center of the screen and all of a sudden they have enough space to zoom that tile to more than 1/4 of my screen. Instead they are held hostage and limited in zoom size because of the rest of the menu at the top and the A & B button helper at the bottom.

    And last but not least we still have no control at all over our menu system. How about a customizable menu bar of some sort on the home screen so I don't have to click through 4 menus just to get to my list of achievements? A shortcut bar any one? Something modern technology gave us almost 20 years ago? *face palm*

    Posted: October 3, 2010 10:46 AM
  • derryisgud4u

    its not bad although to use espn3.com and your xbox or even your computer you have to have a certain internet provider. otherwise you have to call yours and request it if you can get it. for a fee im sure

    Posted: October 3, 2010 5:04 AM
  • Phategod

    I do miss the round edges but It seems faster and cleaner.

    Posted: October 3, 2010 3:18 AM
  • canadabac0n

    That avatar was kinda slutty looking....schwing!!! (old school)

    Posted: October 3, 2010 2:34 AM
  • ericsauce

    The new xbox looks ugly, and the new dashboard looks ugly. IF ITS NOT BROKEN, DON'T FIX IT.

    Posted: October 3, 2010 1:50 AM
  • Magicalchickenwings

    If only Sony would update the XMB.
    The sparkles in the background aren't that amazing -_-

    Posted: October 3, 2010 12:05 AM
  • mustangtommy

    It doesnt look that different compared to how much it changed the first time

    Posted: October 3, 2010 12:03 AM
  • Ra3000

    bunch of useless crap and the reface i could care less for.

    Posted: October 2, 2010 8:10 PM