I've just been watching the trailer for the new XBox 360 Dashboard and it's looking good, it's looking very very good. This is one of the first time's I've seen Microsoft really get the concept of style nailed. The new dashboard seems to use a coverflow style to show different TV shows, films and games that can be viewed/downloaded. An example of the new style can now be seen on the http:\\www.xbox.com home page. I wonder will the new media centre look anything like this?
Another change is going to be the creation of Avatars. These are the little characters that you create on the Nintendo Wii who are then included in some games and online and basically it's a digital version of yourself. The 360 versions seem to be exactly the same and could be quite and interesting new feature depending on whether or not games actually bother to support them.
The third change will be the ability to rip a game to your 360 hard drive. This will turn off the DVD-Drive and allow the game to run directly from the HDD. The feature will allow games to run a little faster but more importantly they will silence the 360 and make it welcome in bedrooms once more.
The final change that I find exciting is the deal with Netflix that will allow 360 users to rent a film from Netflix through the dashboard and then watch them on your 360. This is an excellent new feature that adds tremendous functionality and once we see television shows here in the UK on the 360 this will really start to put the pressure on iTunes.
There's obviously a long way to go yet for Microsoft to bring all it's services up to this kind of level but if Steve Ballmer follows through on his promises to improve the mobile and windows platforms, I have to assume that means the Zune too, then there could be some great things to come.
Image from oxm.co.uk