The Xbox System Update is Whatever

Dear Reader,

The new Xbox 360 OS isn’t that great, is it? Normally, I greet these little upgrades with enthusiasm bordering on giddiness, because it feels like you’re getting a brand-new system. But this time, I wonder if the whole thing wasn’t just a sham excuse to implement more Kinect functionality. There’s three things I don’t like in the new layout.

Remember these bad boys? The blades?

First, Netflix, if any of you still use that service. The new horizontal rows are disorienting, they make looking for any given title a needle-in-a-haystack search. Second, the Friends page has taken a step backwards in functionality, because you now have to navigate to it, then actually select the “Friends” box to look through them. Third, why on God’s earth is the box that lets you play the game in your disc tray so freaking small? Are we sending a message here, Microsoft? Oh, and I don’t think anyone likes all the glitches. They seem pretty much fixed now, but they existed, by golly.

On the other hand, the Quick Play box is handy, and I guess if you’re a Kinect user, you’re blasting around these menus with your hands, making like Mickey Mouse in “Fantasia.” But for the rest of us…meh.


life’s a happy song

  • Eric Robbins

    Using the controller is so much faster than the Kinect to navigate.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft keeps trying to come as close as possible to the near perfect XMB. It’s pretty sad.

  • Brendan Corcoran

    I really like the new dashboard… and I have a few things to add:

    Netflix’s “new” interface as a result of this dashboard update isn’t all that much different from their app interface on… every other platform (PS3, Roku, etc). The old design for the Netflix app just made it match the Xbox dashboard design.

    The friends interface I 75% agree on. The 25% I don’t agree with is that I spent way too long looking through my friends list before this dashboard. If you’ve got even 15 or 20 people online, it can be difficult to see who’s playing what at a glance. Their new method of “drilling down” makes it easier, since you can see visually what individuals are playing vs what parties are. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, though.

    The nice thing about Kinect being fully supported is that I can yell at my xbox to do most things (side note: I’ve also tried whispering… it creeps me out that it works too).

    • Andrew Allen

      Your points about the Friends page are well taken. But I still don’t like the new Netflix.