Xbox 360 Improvements Released Today

Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft's Xbox 360Microsoft's Xbox 360All I can say is, it's "about time" and I'm very much looking forward to these actually terribly useful improvements, particularly with the music features and DVD bookmarking!

From the official release:

Gamers ask and Xbox 360 delivers with revolutionary free upgrade for all Xbox 360 connected owners.

Starting June 6, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to access a system-wide update creating a new pinnacle for next-generation gaming and entertainment. The Xbox 360 spring update introduces more than 125 features.

Since the launch of Xbox 360 in November 2005, Microsoft has continuously focused on gamer and community feedback to determine further improvements and enhancements for the evolving next-generation experience, resulting in this inaugural mass update. This free update will be digitally distributed over Xbox Live to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Gold) with no disc or hard drive required to take advantage of the plethora of new features. Gamers without an Xbox Live account can easily sign up for the free network by connecting their console to a broadband internet connection. Once online, downloading the update takes less than a minute and provides instant access to features including:

Xbox Live Marketplace Enhancements
New background download manager gives gamers the ability to queue up and download six high definition items at a time including playable game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, music videos and movie trailers while actively playing games or browsing the dashboard. As an added benefit, if gamers engage in multiplayer gameplay while downloads are in process, the new background download manager will automatically pause the download queue until the multiplayer session is complete ensuring a continuously optimal gameplay experience.

Updated Xbox Live Marketplace menus makes it easier for players to find and store all of their gaming and entertainment content. This includes the addition of new menus for media and entertainment content as well as enhanced menus making it easier for gamers to find what?s new in each section as well as a quick view at all downloads by category.

Full remote control features for Xbox Live Marketplace videos allow gamers to fast forward and rewind at various speeds (2X-16X) during all videos downloaded from Marketplace.

Music Player Improvements
Custom background music now continues to play without interruption during game loads and when transitioning from game to game or disc content.

During music play, the music playback screen now showcase the artist, song title and time remaining on the song along with a visualizer showing which song on the playlist or album is currently playing.

DVD Movie Playback Upgrades
DVD movie bookmarking now allows gamers to pause a movie at any point, put in a game for gameplay and return to the movie at the exact point it left off.

Improved DVD movie playback for a smoother, higher quality viewing experience, including additional VGA support.

These features are just some of the new experiences gamers can expect on the system as part of this spring update. For a list of additional new features and improvements, visit www.xbox.com/live.

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
NEW FEATURES * “Download

NEW FEATURES

* “Download manager” - Marketplace items now download in the background, queue up to six pieces of content
* DVD bookmark support will remember the film’s timing and location when resuming viewing
* Fast-forward and rewind now offered at 2x -16x for any videos saved to hard drive
* “Boot to Dashboard” setting will bypass the loading of any disc in the drive and open directly to Dashboard during power-on
* Begin slideshows from any photo
* Music player saves “shuffle” setting
* Much player save “repeat” setting
* Music player now displays which file is currently playing in the playlist
* Music volume level persists between game / reboots
* 8 new locales added (Chile, Brazil, India, South Africa, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
* Separate settings now offered for Game and User volume controls
* Themes can now be set from the “System” blade on the Dashboard
* User-selected music continues play when switching from Dashboard to game or game to Dashboard
* “All Arcade Games” added as a selection in the Xbox Live Arcade area
* Personal gamer pictures allowed as Gamertiles – displayed only to those on your Friends List
* Added support to disable sound effects when navigating Dashboard
* Instantaneous “Change Theme” option added upon downloading new Dashboard themes
* Preserve folder structure of source when viewing photos
* A / B labels now provided to identify memory units in Dashboard
* Online status set to “Away” when screensaver becomes active

SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS

DVD Player

* Improved audio/video sync after extended pauses
* Improved visual quality
* DVD player outputs at native resolution over VGA connection
* Improved playback smoothness
* Improved fast-forward and rewind smoothness
* DVD play continues to attempt to read a disc after “disc read” error
* DVD play à Pause à Play jitter / out of synch issues improved
* DVD play à Slow Play à Play jitter / out of synch issues improved
* Repaired issues with missing menu selection icon from DVD disc menu for certain films
* Improved Xbox 360 Guide efficiency during certain films
* Repaired playback stutter during certain films

Music Player

* Player now populates music data (Title, Artist, etc.) when no track information is available
* User music is now pauses, instead of stopping, when games override user-selected background music
* Selecting an artist’s album no longer displays albums for all artists
* Improved performance when retrieving playlists from a Windows Media connection
* List music tracks in track-order when viewing albums by specific artist
* Unified music controls for music player in Dashboard and pop-up Guide
* Improved playback for Mono AAC-encoded files
* Improved connection timing between console and CD database over Internet
* Player no longer allows hard-drive selection when no hard-drive is connected
* Removed handling of MTP/USB devices when playing music from them more robust
* Improved error codes / messaging associated with unplayable content

Localization Improvements

* Fixed partially truncated strings in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian
* Korean clock / date format corrected after initial set-up
* Fixed system hang when changing the language of the console immediately after signing out
* Korean virtual keyboard “down” navigation now works for lower-right button
* Korean virtual keyboard caps disabled for input mode
* Fixed overlapping characters for pre-paid Gold membership card (Japanese localization)
* Removed extra spaces in several translated words (French localization)
* PC name displayed properly when containing Japanese characters
* Support single apostrophe character for Japanese virtual keyboard

Memory Area Improvements

* Streamlined selection – no profile selection required
* Improved overall performance, allowing quicker access to content
* Improved content views including name, file type, size, profile owner and location
* Faster identification of file types and fewer steps for actions such as copy, move, delete, etc.
* Capacity (or percentage-full) of storage device now consistent between select-a-device and storage scenes
* Device selection now shown on each screen to improve usability

Miscellaneous System Improvements

* Time elapsed now displayed when playing music files
* Enhanced categorization of media library
* Accelerated scrolling of large music lists
* New “shuffle” icon
* Repeat / Shuffle icon now operates as toggle button
* Default button for manual IP address is now “A” instead of “Done”
* Hidden and system folders are no longer displayed from MTP / mass storage devices
* Difficulty levels for gamer profiles ordered correctly
* Added additional line and word-wrap to “Publisher” in video area
* Shuffle / Random no longer skips last image in list when viewing photos
* Improved handling of Friend Requests between Gamertags that have changed names
* No longer asked “Exist to Dash?” when switching between areas in the Dashboard
* New error messages for when Windows Live ID requires password change
* Unlocked Achievements now displayed first in Game Summary page
* Selecting an Achievement now shows the specific Achievement details
* Full date now displayed for “Member Since” and “Next Bill Date” tabs on Membership scene
* Updated messaging for deleting arcade games purchased by different profiles
* No longer launch music CD in disc-tray when moving from Live sign-up to Dashboard or Network Troubleshooter
* Improved voice quality when connected through wired gamepad
* Show “Last Played Game” selection in Xbox Live Arcade first before enumerating all games (when Arcade game was last game played)
* Improved performance of picture enumeration from iPods formatted for Mac
* Adopt latest updates to Cero-based ratings for Family Settings
* Show videos downloaded from Marketplace in the Video area of the Media blade
* Improved usability around “Play Now” when downloading demos, trailers and videos
* Added support for South Africa-specific Family Settings
* Updated support for Japanese game ratings
* Video area changed to include game trailers and entertainment videos
* Improved robustness of Gamerscore when doing account recoveries
* Improved messaging around handling corrupt or non-fully recovered profiles
* Improved download performance for popular content being downloaded through Marketplace
* Total USB keyboard support
* Testing Live connection while streaming music from PC works correctly
* Next item / Focus sound not played when scrolling past the bottom of the video list
* Handle profiles on memory units inserted into system while enumerating profiles from other storage locations
* Warning / Alert icons now show as part of deleting items in Memory area
* Repeat rate for remote control matches game controller repeat rate
* “A” button disabled when in a list with no items available
* Wireless battery level added to mini-pop-up guide over backward-compatible games
* Pop-up guide / Dashboard now supports USB keyboard
* Console no longer enters “charge” mode when shutdown and the battery has been removed from wireless controller
* System no longer waits indefinitely when attempting to contact Windows Media Connect service on XP PC
* Improved Marketplace storage device selector
* Correctly set focus on selected item when back button pressed on “select a game” scene
* Notify users when multiple wireless SSIDS with identical names are within reach
* Provide Gold membership information when trying to join a session or accepting game invites with Silver accounts
* New text to highlight the ability to clear the passcode for Live account signing
* Photo slideshow no longer resumes when pressing “previous” or “next” from paused state
* Improved handling of corrupt profiles when deleting them
* No longer turn off wireless gamepads after system update reboot
* More robust handling of initial setup experience for memory unit users
* Improved handling of backward-compatible update experience, reboot back into Xbox v1 environment instead of Dashboard
* Improved handling for "block communications" from other players
* Improved keypress sounds when using USB keyboard
* Improved usability and performance of content enumeration for storage devices
* Show visual location for where Xbox Live Arcade games reside
* Improved user messaging when overwriting content while copying
* Improved consistency of messaging between "sign out" and "switch profile"
* Updated troubleshooter text for connection to Windows PC's joined to domain
* Better support for Xbox 360 game disc recognition
* Improved initial setup text messaging
* Improved overall error message terminology
* Game updates downloaded to memory unit no longer show "please reinsert" notification when memory unit removed
* More robust support for handling game deletes from memory unit and simultaneously removing memory unit
* Improved system performance between console and affiliated Windows Media Connect PC

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[My collection - www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/vgamecomp.htm]
[www.MythCore.com]

n/a
mrCustard (not verified)
Nice!

That's a nice list of fixes and improvements. On a side note, bought my first two 360 games today. No console af of yet ;)

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Which games, mrCustard? And

Which games, mrCustard? And it's too bad you can't appreciate the improvements, as they really will make a big difference. But at least you're getting it fully tweaked to a highly polished level!

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection - http://www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/vgamecomp.htm ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

n/a
mrCustard (not verified)
GRAW and PGR3 (especially

GRAW and PGR3 (especially excited about this one. I've been a fan since Metropolis Street Racer!). I bought them both secondhand for 34 euros a piece, which is not too bad, as the new ones are around 60.

Other games that will probably end up in the collection before long: Kameo (because of the intricate scoring system), Burnout Revenge (I'm a completist ;)), Ridge Racer 6, Table Tennis (it's cheap).

I love arcade racing, and arcade racing loves the 360 (as well as the original Xbox and the Dreamcast). The genre really benefits from a high non-intelaced resolution. (nothing is as irritating as obstacles that suddenly form out of a jumble of pixels)

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
I downloaded, but have yet

I downloaded, but have yet to try the GRAW demo. I'm more of a Rainbow Six guy, but GRAW looks great. I'm also excited to try "Table Tennis". I love different games, but especially competitive ones like that.

My first impression of 360 Burnout was more of the same, just more, but after having the opportunity to really crank my surround sound system this past weekend and playing a few exhilirating rounds, my impression of it has improved quite a bit. All that and I still have yet to take it onto Live more than a few times.

PGR is typical of the series, so no complaints there.

I still have the most fun with Xbox Live Arcade stuff and Fight Night Round 3, but I certainly like what I've played so far.

Here is my purchased collection to date:

Title Format Online?
Burnout: Revenge DVD Yes
Call of Duty 2 DVD Yes
Condemned: Criminal Origins DVD Yes
Crystal Quest (with purchased Sketch Graphics Pack) Download No
Fight Night Round 3 DVD Yes
Final Fantasy XI Online (Beta) DVD Yes
Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved Download No
GUN DVD No
Hexic HD Download No
King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie DVD No
Mutant Storm: Reloaded Download No
Perfect Dark Zero Limited Collector's Edition DVD Yes
Project Gotham Racing 3 DVD Yes
The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Collector's Edition DVD No
Wik: The Fable of Souls Download No
Zuma Download No

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection - http://www.billandchristina.com/vgamecomp/vgamecomp.htm ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

n/a
forcefield58
Offline
Joined: 05/19/2006
Great Deal!! ...but, where are all the Xbox 360's?

For all the bad things alot of people say about Microsoft, this is one where it is all "goodness". Xbox Live is a perfect way to host the upgrades and is something it looks like Sony and Nintendo finally are going to adopt, at least their own version of the online feature.

My only question to those of you that read this is have you seen any Xbox 360 systems that are actually available for sale anywhere. Everytime I visit my local electronics store; Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc., they're sold out, still!!! Pretty incredible this far post release.

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mrCustard (not verified)
No problems with stock in

No problems with stock in Holland. Stores don't seem to have huge stocks, but both the ore and the premium are available readily enough.

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