On the heels of the recent February Xbox One update, Microsoft is now rolling out the big March Xbox One Dashboard update that brings with is a ton of new features and optimizations. Most are focused on the multiplayer and party chat features, but there's a lot more to it than that. If you've got your eyes peeled looking for that Twitch.tv live streaming feature, that one's not ready quite yet. You'll have to wait until March 11th, when the feature launches alongside the release of Titanfall. We're also still waiting on the external hard drive support, which Microsoft says is coming, but has yet to give any solid release date for.
To see the list of what's in the March Xbox One Dashboard update, hit the jump to see the video and feature play-by-play. Also, don't miss our look at the elusive white Xbox One console!
The first significant Xbox One update is set for release on Tuesday, February 11th. Microsoft gave a few details on what gamers can expect from the new software, without going into too much detail on what all it entails. Here are three features you can look forward to on February 11th as an Xbox One owner:
- The ability to see and manage your storage space. With this update, you will find it easy to find how much space your content takes up and better manage your content. You can also control your install lineup and more easily manage your download queue. We’ve separated My Games and My Apps into separate lists, so you can easily create separate queues for both. Now you can pick the order in which you want your content to load and we’ve added a boot progress indicator so you can better track updates while they load.
- The battery power indicator is back! You can see it right on the home screen, so you can easily track how much battery life is left on your controller.
- And, you will be able to use your USB keyboard with your Xbox One.
While we haven't been waiting with bated breath for USB keyboard support ourselves, we're sure there's many a gamer out there excited to see that update. For us, being able to view and manage storage is a big deal--especially for a console that prides itself on selling all titles on demand with a paltry 500 GB hard drive. Speaking of which, we're still waiting on the update that enables external USB storage.
After the February 11th update, there will be another one released on March 4th in anticipation for the release of Titanfall. That one will be focused on multiplayer matchmaking and the party system, making sure it's in top shape for the release of the big-name title. You can pre-order Titanfall now.
Microsoft also announced a significant number of related content partnerships, bringing most major services to the Xbox platform this week or by early 2012. On Dec. 6, Starting Dec. 6, a free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let also let users find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday night, Microsoft said that the "Bing on Xbox" update would arrive on U.S. consoles beginning "tomorrow," and roll out to U.S. console owners over the coming weeks. Those without a Kinect peripheral will be able to search using Bing text search.
The voice search capability, first revealed in June, will work with both the Xbox Live Marketplace, Zune Video, and selected content partners. On Dec. 6, presumably the date of the update, Microsoft plans to add content from new entertainment partners, including apps, from EPIX, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and MSNBC's Today.
Microsoft's vision for the Xbox platform, including voice search via Kinect, probably was more significant six months ago before Apple's Siri began dominating headlines with its ability to naturally search and interact with the user and a variety of apps. Nevertheless, it allows users to interact with a growing sea of content as simply as possible.
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.
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.
2009 is just about over, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but Microsoft gets the top two spots with our Xbox 360 dashboard tour, and the Zune HD hands-on preview. Also getting an honorable mention is the Motorola DROID and Elgato Turbo.264 transcoding device.
For those of you who weren’t able to get into the Preview Program, you can now rest assured that the latest Xbox 360 features, including Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace with instant on 1080p streaming, will be arriving on all Xbox 360 consoles on November 17th. Yup, that’s just five days away, which isn’t that bad at all. To celebrate the launch of the new dashboard, all Xbox Live Gold features will be available to Xbox Live Silver members from November 20-23, allowing Silver members to sample Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and online multiplayer. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t know that only Xbox Live Gold members were able to use the new social networking aspects of the dashboard? Yeah, major fail, we agree.
We previewed the dashboard in a recent episode of Bleeding Edge TV, which you can check out at the top.
We got our hands on the new Fall 2009 Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which features Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Instant-on 1080p movie streaming from Zune. You can get the full scoop in the video, but in a nutshell, here are our thoughts:
- Facebook: Facebook on Xbox 360 is integrated well into the console. We like that you can see which of your Xbox 360 friends are on Facebook, and which Facebook friends have an Xbox 360 account. The problem is that the Xbox 360’s ridiculous friend limit really stands out here. You have a limit of 100 friends, and if you have a bunch of friends on Facebook that you want to connect with, you will quickly find that you have to pick and choose. You see what I mean in the video. Other than that, being able to view profile data and photo galleries of friends is a nice touch. Updating or commenting sucks if you don’t have a Chatpad.
- Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is way too simple for our liking. It shows you the last 50 tweets from people you following, trending topics, and basic profile info. You can also send tweets out from the Xbox 360, but it’s frustrating to do, unless you have a Chatpad handy.
- Last.fm: This works as expected. You sign in, and you get access to all your channels, and you can create new channels on the fly. What sucks? You can’t see your Last.fm friends, which is something I miss. Even worse? The music only plays when you are actually in the Last.fm area. If you leave, the music stops. This means you can’t carry it over to the dashboard, or in-game. So really, what’s the point?
- Zune Instant on 1080p: This was awesome. Definitely blew me away. We streamed a portion of the movie 300. After a bandwidth test, the Xbox 360 confirmed we were good to go for instant 1080p streaming, and it delivered. Fantastic. The best streaming video quality we’ve seen from any service.
There are a few other new details as well, and we give you a detailed look at it all in this video. Sit back and enjoy!
A new Xbox Live dashboard update was released very early this morning. Before you get excited, all the update does is add support for the wireless guitars we’ll be seeing released later this year – that’s all. Nothing particularly exciting, but then again, that’s what the spring and fall dashboard updates are for. Hopefully the update we receive later this year won’t be quite as disappointing as this past spring’s.
The long-awaited Spring Update is finally set for launch tomorrow (Wednesday), with the headline feature being all-new Xbox Live integration with MSN/Windows Live Messenger. This is the third such major dashboard update in the life of the Xbox 360, and contains a long list of new features – but it’s ultimately the weakest of those three releases.
Being able to instant message while gaming, watching movies or doing whatever else on the 360 is certainly a nifty feature, but isn’t going to be worth taking advantage of for the average user – at least not until the mini-QWERTY keyboard is released. USB keyboard support is being added, but unless you’re sitting fairly close (or wireless keyboards are supported), you’ll be stuck typing with the virtual keyboard. And from having sent hundreds over messages over Live, let me say that using that is nothing short of an exercise in patience.
In addition to the IMing capabilities included in the update, the following features have been added:
- On-screen pop-ups that immediately display the name and gamerscore value of a just accomplished Achievement, allowing gamers to see their progress without leaving or pausing the game.
- An even safer way to communicate through Xbox LIVE with enhanced family settings that enable different default settings for video chat and voice chat.
- A new, standalone Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade houses all Xbox LIVE Marketplace content in one easy to navigate space.
- Xbox LIVE Arcade enhancements that showcase what games friends are playing directly from the friends list. Boasting about high scores, comparing progress and checking out leaderboards are all easier now as well.
- Faster access to free, trial version of Xbox LIVE Arcade games through an improved Auto Downloads feature.
- The ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind video as it is being downloaded on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Owners can now set their consoles to turn off after downloading content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace to help save energy, and download speeds have been increased.
The Marketplace blade will certainly be useful, but what Microsoft is really trying to do is simply make it as easy as possible for you to hand over those Microsoft Points. But the new Achievement notification will be sure to go over well, especially with me, as I’m the type of person who always checks out what achievement I just unlocked - even if I’m in a multiplayer game.
For more details on the free download and a full list of features, check out this page on Xbox.com.
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