Xbox 360 Fall 2006 dashboard preview

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The new dashboard update coming out tomorrow (October 31) adds in some big enhancements to the Xbox 360. 1080p resolution, streaming WMV video from a Windows PC, auto downloading of Xbox Live Arcade demos, and expanded achievements. Probably the most notable feature is that you can play videos files from CDs, DVDs, Xbox 360 Memory Units and USB 2.0. flash drives on the 360. Below is a screenshot of the new marketplace where there are sections for “game”, “entertainment”, “game demos” and “theme & gamericons.”

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See a full list of enhancements below.

Expanded HD Display and Video Playback Options

With 1080p resolution, gamers now have the ability to enjoy both game and video content in the best HD resolution currently available.

Expanded video playback options increase the ways gamers can enjoy video content on Xbox 360. It is now possible to stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect.

Gamers can now play video files from data CDs and DVDs, as well as from storage devices like USB 2.0 flash drives and Xbox 360 Memory Units.

Xbox 360 will support 50hz HDTV display modes, providing viewers greater choice in how they watch DVD and HD DVD content.


Xbox Live Arcade Enhancements

Keeping up to date on Xbox Live Arcade games is now even more convenient with the ability to automatically download newly released Xbox Live Arcade trial games. This eliminates the need to manually search for new downloads on Xbox Live Marketplace each time a new game trial is released.

Fast enumeration of games: you’ll see the games in your Xbox Live Arcade collection appear almost instantly. Get in and play right away.

With so many games to choose from, Xbox Live Arcade added new sorting options such as “Recently Played” and “By Category”.  These enhancements make managing Xbox Live Arcade collections faster and easier than ever.

A new expanded Friends Leaderboard within Xbox Live Arcade allows gamers to compare themselves directly against their friends and view leaderboard details of their top 10 friends.

A new expanded Achievements View within Xbox Live Arcade lets gamers view their full Achievement details for their Xbox Live Arcade games including descriptions, icons, allotted Gamerscore and more, right from the Xbox Live Arcade dashboard interface.

The Play Now launch feature has been streamlined. Selecting Play Now after downloading a game in Xbox Live Marketplace now bypasses Xbox Live Arcade and takes you directly to the game.

Xbox Live Arcade now offers a Tell a Friend feature. Select this option from the game info screen to send any friend on your friends list a message telling them about the Xbox Live Arcade game.


XNA Support

Amateur game designers will be able to test and play the games they create using XNA Game Studio Express on their Xbox 360 systems when it launches later this year (separate download and subscription required).


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