The New XBox Experience
The New XBox Experience (NXE) was publicly released to XBox 360 users yesterday, and if you haven’t updated your own 360 yet, I recommend it.
The graphics and style of the new dashboard are sleek and shiny, which is to be expected, based on Microsoft’s recent trend of shinyness, as seen in Windows Vista. I find it generally pleasant. I found the interface and layout to be very easy to navigate, and there are a handful of new features that make the update plenty worthwhile, including the ability to gather groups of people to play together (also known as parties), and the option to install a game onto your hard drive (which eliminates some loud disc drive noises and, in most, but not all cases makes it load faster). There is also a nice feature in the pop-up XBox guide menu is quick launch feature, which lets you instantly start a game, either installed on your 360 or in the disc drive, regardless of what you’re doing. Previously, you had to exit your game and navigate to the game you wanted, so this is a nice upgrade. The new avatar system is kind of fun, though suspiciously focused toward the Wii and casual crowds, while displaying far greater detail than a Mii, such as hands with fingers. The avatar creation system could use some work too, including some more choices of facial features and clothing, but it is otherwise adequate. There’s more to the update than what I mentioned here, but these are among the most noticeable.
Overall, NXE is a beneficial update. I’d be interested to see what other updates they roll around, or additional content they add.