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What's not new: The Xbox 360 is likely getting a Fall update that contains significant graphical updates and a few new features, like enchanted Kinect motion and voice navigation, Bing integration, and, ultimately, live television streaming.

What is new: A freshly leaked video that shows just how some of the different components of the new Xbox interface are shaping up.

An unknown source has leaked a full video that shows off a lot of the simple menu navigation and new user interface elements allegedly arriving on November 15 as a part of Microsft's fall Xbox 360 dashboard update. What's missing, however, are all the juicy bits: A preview of the voice-activated search, for example, or any kind of mention of an integrated live TV service or promised social connectivity, like the ability to fire off news of one's achievements to a connected Facebook account.

Click to continue reading Leaked video shows new Xbox 360 fall 2011 dashboard update

Gallery: Leaked video shows new Xbox 360 fall 2011 dashboard update


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Avatar Kinect

Avatar Kinect, the Xbox 360 app that captures your facial expressions and maps them right onto your avatar, is now available as the newest gadget in Kinect Fun Labs. You can invite friends into a session, and communicate using your avatars in one of 24 different virtual stages. Things like a performance stage, talk show, and even a tailgate party. The sessions are recorded so that you can upload them to KinectShare.com, where you can download them and send them to the Twitters, Facebooks, and YouTubes of the world. You need an Xbox LIVE Gold membership to use Avatar Kinect, but Microsoft is opening it up to all members from now through September 8th.

On July 28th, Kinect Sparkler will appear in Kinect Fun Labs as well, showcasing the Kinect's new ability to do finger tracking. You use your body as a stencil and paintbrush, creating works of art in 3D, and uploading them to KinectShare.com. This one will cost 240 Microsoft Points.

Gallery: Avatar Kinect now available, Kinect Sparkler arrives this Thursday


Xbox Live cloud syncing

Microsoft didn't have enough time to cover everything that's coming down the pike for Xbox Live with the fall dashboard update, but they sent us an email detailing some of the new hotness that they didn't talk about on stage, and we're super excited to hear that profiles will be able to be saved to the cloud. What does that mean for the average Joe? Well, this means that instead of saving your games to your hard drive or USB stick, you can instead save them to the web. Same goes for your Xbox Live profile, along with achievements, friend list, etc. One thing I've always hated about having two Xbox 360 units in the home is that I need to remember to grab my USB stick and bring it upstairs and down if I want to log into Live. Now, I just enter a username and password on any Xbox 360, from any location, and I am logged in. The days of recovering a Gamertag will be history come this fall!

Gallery: Xbox Live will store your profile and game saves to the cloud this fall


YouTube on Xbox 360

This morning at its E3 2011 Xbox Media Briefing, Microsoft announced that YouTube will be coming to Xbox Live this fall. They didn't go into too much detail about it, but you'll obviously be able to search and view videos from the YouTube service, and we're gonna go out on a limb and guess that you'll also be able to upload gameplay videos taken with Kinect directly to the service as well. Even without that last part though, adding YouTube is just another step Microsoft is taking in their hopes of making the Xbox 360 the ultimate living room hub.

Gallery: YouTube coming to Xbox Live


Xbox 360 replacement

Microsoft is offering a small number of Xbox 360 owners replacement consoles and a free year of Xbox Live as compensation for a firmware glitch, according to a report.

According to Kotaku, some customers have received emails stating that consumers can trade in their defective consoles in return for an upgrade.

Microsoft also confirmed the report via Twitter, in response to the posting of a screenshot of the letter by user Avery Penn.

However, the email from Microsoft appears to anticipate problems with the console, as Penn told Kotaku that his console is still able to read the discs. "The email was most likely referring to the Xbox LIVE update which is being phased in between May 19 and May 30 – an update which reflashes the DVD drives to a new stock firmware, and adds support for new XGD3 disk format," Kotaku added. "It's this update that allows an extra GB of usable storage on game discs."

Click to continue reading Microsoft sending upgraded Xbox 360 consoles to users with disc issues

Gallery: Microsoft sending upgraded Xbox 360 consoles to users with disc issues


Xbox 360 system update preview

Microsoft is looking for "multiple thousands" of Xbox Live members to test a new Xbox 360 disc format; in exchange, Microsoft will send you a free copy of the best-selling Halo: Reach and other branded freebies.

"We are conducting an open call for US based participants for a public preview to help us prepare for an updated Xbox 360 disc format," Major Nelson, the gamertag for Microsoft Xbox Live's programming director Larry Hryb, announced on his blog.

"We're looking for multiple thousands of participants, so your chances of making it in are good," he wrote.

Click to continue reading Microsoft looking for testers for next Xbox 360 system update

Gallery: Microsoft looking for testers for next Xbox 360 system update


xbox live family packA couple of days ago, Microsoft raised the price of an annual Xbox Live Gold suscription by $10, to $59.99 per year. However, realizing that there are people out there with multiple accounts in a family setting, the company has finally incorporated an Xbox Live Family subscription into their offerings, and it's a great deal. For $99.99 per year--$20 less than the cost of two Xbox Live Gold subscriptions--you get a pack of four Xbox Live Gold accounts. Even cooler, though, is if you have young children, you get details on their activity and can set up preferences and allowances, and even get activity reports. Here's a look at the features that are exclusive fo the Family Pack:

  • Family Center: It’s a single easy-to-use destination to manage your family’s memberships and online settings.
  • Activity reports: Sign in to Xbox.com to view reports on your family’s activities on Xbox LIVE, and encourage discussions with your family about safer, healthier, and more balanced gaming.
  • Microsoft Points Allowances: Parents and caregivers can purchase and gift Microsoft Points to their children.
  • Family Pack Deal: Get exclusive discounts on family-friendly content.

You can convert over to the Family Pack from any existing Xbox Live account. If you're already a Gold member, then you get $5 towards the purchase of the Family Pack for each month of Gold that you have remaining on your account. Even better, if other accounts that you want to add to your Family Pack have time left on a Gold subscription, the entire family will get another month of Gold added for every two months remaining on each account.

The Xbox Live Gold Family Pack is available now, and you can set it up online, or from the Xbox 360 dashboard.

Read More | Xbox Live Family Pack FAQ

Gallery: Xbox Live Gold Family Pack now available


Nov 1 2010 xbox live update

If you've been waiting for the Fall 2010 Xbox Live dashboard update to drop, tomorrow is the day, just in time for the launch of Kinect. This'll be a mandatory update, and anyone who refuses to get it will find themselves unable to connect to the service. According to the message Xbox Live users are receiving in their inboxes, the update will also add minor changes the Dashboard so that: "You will notice a change to the layout of the Xbox LIVE Dashboard, a new color scheme, and new fonts being used.

If you want a look at all the new features the update will bring to your Xbox 360, hit our video after the jump.

Click to continue reading Mandatory Xbox Live update coming Nov 1st

Gallery: Mandatory Xbox Live update coming Nov 1st


Xbox Live Gold Halo Reach Helmet

is helping to promote and their online service by enticing gamers with an offer they cannot refuse - a whopping 40% off a full year Gold member ship, in addition to avatar swag. This brings the price of Gold down from $49.99 (and increasing to $59.99 starting November 1) to $29.99. With Gold member privileges you will have access to features such as: the deal of the week, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, online multiplayer, and last.fm.

Gallery: 40% off full year Xbox Live membership plus free Halo: Reach avatar helmet


Xbox Live Price Lock

If you haven’t heard by now, Microsoft is going to be increasing the yearly cost of Xbox LIVE membership by $10 per year starting on November 1. This comes after 8 years of the service remaining at a steady $50 per year, and kills rumors that the service would actually go free sometime soon. On November 1, a year of Xbox LIVE Gold will cost you $59.99, one month will cost $9.99 (up from $7.99,) and the three-month subscriptions will go from $19.99 to $24.99. They say it’s to support new features like , ESPN, and Hulu Plus coming to Xbox LIVE (despite the fact that Hulu Plus costs $10 a month in the first place.)

The one silver lining here is that you can currently buy yourself a one-year Xbox LIVE subscription for just $39.99, locking in that $20 savings for a year. It will just get tacked on to your current subscription if you already have one. If you want multiple years of savings, you can always find Xbox LIVE discounts on Amazon.

Read More | Xbox LIVE Price Lock

Gallery: Xbox LIVE membership fee increasing $10 per year—lock in lower price now


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