Microsoft announced today at the TGS 2008 in Tokyo that the new Xbox 360 user interface will be launched on November 19th. Cancel all gaming parties you have planned for that day, as Microsoft will most likely need more time than expected to get the Xbox 360 update deployed.
Microsoft announced the new 3D Xbox 360 interface that combines Apple Cover Flow with Nintendo Miis in July at the E3 2008.
This update brings the following main features besides the new look:
- Entertainment without limits. Xbox 360 invites you into a limitless world where the best games, movies and TV shows live side by side with your personal pictures and music library, and ready to share your fun anytime with friends across the globe through Xbox LIVE.
- Xbox LIVE Party. Xbox 360 allows you to create a virtual party on your TV with up to seven friends. With LIVE Party, voice chat while you play games, share photos in real time2 and entertain friends all over the world.
- Personality plus. Create a customizable, animated avatar and literally jump into the world of Xbox LIVE. Your avatar is your game-face throughout the New Xbox Experience and represents your personality — whether you are a LIVE Party host or chatting with a friend. With custom avatars created by the more than 14 million members worldwide, Xbox LIVE will have as many avatars as Tokyo has residents.3
- On-demand entertainment. Xbox 360 is home to the best TV and movie entertainment, including more than 12,000 exclusive films and TV episodes from Netflix Inc., and a large online library of on-demand high-definition TV shows and movies from partners such as Constantin, Disney, MGM, NBC Universal Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
- Games for the community, by the community. For the first time in the history of console gaming, thousands of games developed by the creative community will be available to the public. The Community Games channel on Xbox LIVE will include games made by students, hobbyists, and average people all around the world and will be exclusive to Xbox LIVE.
This new software update makes the Xbox 360 much more attractive again. Microsoft did a great job in getting the Xbox 360 to meet the current Zeitgeist. They do not make a real step forward though like Sony is trying to do with Playstation Home. At the new low $199 price point Microsoft is set for a great holiday sales season for the Xbox 360.