The New XBox Experience

I spent the evening messing about with the New XBox Experience. Figured I’d share my thoughts like everyone else has. Download and install was fairly quick: 10-15 minutes (this was right after work ET so I’m sure everyone else was grabbing it at the same time). No problems there.

Creating an avatar was actually more fun than I expected it to be. The examples I’ve seen in the past all looked kind of boring middle-class, and there’s more variety than that. Now that I have an avatar….who knows? I took a gamer-picture of it, so that’s something.

My old theme got borked under the NXE, so I sprang for a premium Fable 2 theme. That fancies up your friends list (a place I very rarely visit) but otherwise is just an expensive wallpaper.

Overall, the interface is more cuddly but feels less efficient to me, but maybe that depends on getting used to it? You can hit the XBox button on your controller to bring up a mini-version of the old ‘blade’ interface and from there quickly launch the game in the drive…but that’s one more step than I used to have to do, when the “Play game” button was on every screen.

There’s a jillion ads, as there has always been in spite of MS charging us $50/year to play online, but they seem more intrusive now since you have to flip past them.

I can’t really used the “copy game to hard drive” since my launch unit doesn’t have the space, unless I delete lots of stuff I’d rather not delete. Fable 2 wanted about 7 gigs of space. Don’t ask me where all my hard drive space has gone..I have a handful of demos and lots of Arcade Titles. I guess I’ll need to do more purging if I want to try “copy game to hard drive” and still have room for downloading demos.

Netflix integration is a great feature, but nothing in my queue was being offered in HD. So it looks just like it looks on my Roku box, except I have a nice remote for the Roku box, and there’s no fan noise with it (though this 360 is much quieter than my previous two have been).

Overall, it feels kind of “fun for an hour” and now it’ll be a matter of figuring out my way around the interface. I don’t really feel like I’ve gained much. If I had a bigger hard drive, or if I didn’t already have a Roku box, then the install to disk and Netflix features would’ve been big wins, but for me personally, it was really much ado about nothing. But hopefully MS can build on this interface and offer new, cool features.

If you’re a really social gamer who has a big Friends list that you’re always looking at, and is always playing online with your buds, then the update is probably a lot more significant for you. For those of us part of the dying breed of people who enjoy solitude now and then… it’s kind of “meh.”

6 thoughts on “The New XBox Experience

  1. Did you have any issues with viewing Netflix movies on NXE? I tried watching some and got all kinds of errors and the one I (or more accurately, my daughter) was most interested in, Ratatouille, wouldn’t play at all.

    I thought maybe my Xbox wireless adapter was at fault, but wanted to see if anyone else was experiencing this issue.

  2. I only tested it briefly, but didn’t have any problems. But, I’m not running wirelessly (yup, I run a cable along the baseboards out to the living room!). They could just be swamped tonight. I’ve had a really good experience with “Watch Now” via the Roku box.

  3. What I mainly looked forward to from the NXE was my monitor rez being supported. Unfortunately I now get a small black bar across the top and bottom of the screen, not sure why.

    My NHL 09 hockey club used the party function last night for talking to each other in game instead of the often borked in-game voice, so that was nice. Other than that, there’s not much in the NXE that I really need, but it works and looks good at least.

  4. Is there a way to make it boot from a disc without going to the dashboard? I find it pretty annoying that if I put in a game or DVD, I need to go to Live and click “play game” first.

  5. Yeah there is… heck, I dunno where the settings in under the NXE, but somewhere there are system settings and you can tell it to boot right to disk. That used to be the default, in fact.

    I can look to see where the setting is when I get home tonight.

    Actually you might be able to get to it via the XBox button and the ‘mini-pop-up’ interface, then on the rightmost ‘blade’ of that (going from memory here..)

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