The New Xbox Experience

Posted in opinion on March 8th, 2009 by Flo
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xboxexpIt’s quite some time ago, nearly 5 months, since the new xbox experience was released to the public. It may be a little late to discuss it, but since it was such a huge change, and since the nasty side effects of it appeared to me after using it for quite a while, I still want to discuss it.  From stolen avatars to the slow xbox guide, here’s the new xbox experience.

The New Xbox Experience is exactly what it says. It’s a total makeover of the xbox user interface, and you can as well say of the whole xbox system. All this to improve your gaming experience on the xbox 360. It is clear that they’ve looked at the points where other consoles seemed to surpass the xbox to achieve this. Nearly all changes are based on those points.  Two big changes of that kind are the possibility to install games and the the new avatars.

The first change, installing games, was needed because of the large loading times that some games had. In my opinion, nearly every xbox game has some loading times that are just to long, so I was really waiting for this new option. However, now it’s here, I have some doubts about it. First of all, the install system just seems to make a large copy of the game on your hard disk, so it fills up your disk incredibly fast. Second of all, the loading times don’t seem to become significantly smaller.

The second big change, the new avatars,  is a little mysterious one to me. First of all because it’s nearly a one on one copy from the Mii system from the Nintendo Wii, not very original. Second of all because you can’t use them in games, a possibility that the Wii does have.  Sure, you can use a “photo” of your avatar as your gamer picture, but it ain’t very useful. As a result, the avatar seems to be nothing more than a commercial tool for microsoft. You can actually buy clothes and accessories for it… A bit weird for something probably only you will see.

The third big change is the new look of the whole menu, a change that was really necessary. The marketplace of the old version didn’t had enough filter options, and the new menu just looks better. However, it must be said that it looks like it’s stolen from both the Wii and the PS3. It contains the little tv screen thingies from the Wii menu and the scrolling system from the PS3, whichlooks a lot like the scrolling system from windows media center.

A little downside, and a commercial upside, of this change seem to be that the old custom theme’s are useless now. Sure, you can still use them, but it results into a really ugly wallpaper.

With the new look of the menu, a new look was needed for the xbox guide. Not only was it restyled, it was also reorganised, and they did a pretty good job on that. A lot more options on your xbox are accessible through your xbox guide now, and it’s well organised in menus, so you can find everything you need without much trouble.

However, a big downside of this change is that the guide has become really slow. When somebody invites me to a game, and I accept, the guide seems to hang for a minute, and sometimes a bit longer.  It is at its worst when playing in an online game. One press on the Xbox guide button can lead to numerous deaths, just because the whole system hangs. It seems that not everyone is experiencing this, but to me it’s enough to make this new xbox experience a bad one.

Luckily there’s something that compensates it at all, and it secures xbox first place in the console battle for the best online experience: the party system. There is not a single console where it’s so incredible easy to play with your friends. You invite them to a single party so you can privately chat with everyone and start a game. Simple, but seemingly ingenious.

So on one side, there’s a new refreshing look and the useful new options like the party system and the possibility to install games on your hard disk drive. But on the other hand, microsoft shows how incredibly commercial they are with the coming of the Mii cloned avatars, not caring about the slow xbox guide, contributing to a little negative experience. But when summing up all those new experiences, the total new xbox experience surely  is a positive one.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2009 at 9:25 pm and is filed under opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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