Final Release: October 02, 2003
ESRB Rating: N/R
The Xbox's graphical user interface; dubbed the 'Xbox Dashboard', has undergone yet another upgrade. First used to edit console settings, listen to music and manage game saves, the Dashboard can now be used to communicate with friends via Xbox Live!. Here I'll review some of the features of the new Dashboard, My Live, and the Live Now! service.
Before the update, the standard Xbox Dashboard presented the user with a menu consisting of four items. Memory, Music, Xbox Live, and Settings. While this menu still exists after the update, by default it is secondary to the Live Now! menu. In this new menu, the user is connected to Xbox Live! and has the option to view his Friends and their online status, start or join a Voice Chat session, or enter the Account Management menu. You can opt-out of the auto connection to Xbox Live! using the toggle switch in the Network Settings menu.
Voice communication is what separates the Xbox Live! service from any other online gaming service available. However, communicating with friends outside of a game was confined to PC based instant messaging services, internet chat rooms and message boards. With the new Xbox Dashboard; that's all changed. Now setting up a match is as simple as joining your friends in a Voice Chat session and talking over the details.
As good as the chat sessions are; there are a couple of pitfalls. First; you can only join chat sessions that a friend is currently in. No friends online? You're going to have a quiet night. Second; none of the other features of the Xbox Dashboard, except the friends list, are available while in a voice chat session. This means that if you want to listen to music while you chat it up with friends; you'll be forced to use a separate media player.
I can't say that the My Live! feature over at Xbox.com is the cornerstone of the Xbox Live! experience. It is however a neat tool for anyone who really likes to stay in touch with their Xbox Live! friends, and keep tabs on their current rankings. By linking your Gamertag to your .Net passport used to access Xbox.com, you can have access to your friends list, scoreboards, and account management tutorials. It is a nice tool that adds to the Xbox lifestyle theme MS going for.
MS vs. Xbox Linux
In what I consider one of the lowest moves by a multi-national corporation to date, MS has deleted the contents of Xbox's with content other then what the manufacture intended. Xbox Live! account or not, if your Xbox is connected to the internet and you haven't blocked TCP/UDP port 3074 and UDP port 88, your Xbox Dashboard will be updated when the Xbox Live option is selected.
Live! gamers have been begging for these new features since the inception of Xbox Live!. Now that the features are here, I can say that MS has come through once again. Aside from the poor sportsmanship shown to the Xbox Linux community, the new Xbox Dashboard is a hit.
Live Now!: The new Xbox Dashboard - Kiden approved.
Edited by Kiden_Maiku, 24 October 2003 - 01:58 AM.