The mandatory XBox Live service update on August 11, 2009 will add a couple of goodies to your dashboard, some of which bring it closer in line to PSN's HOME (i.e. buying digital versions of brand name clothing with real money to play dress-up with your virtual doll - now there's something we've all been waiting for, right?).
First and foremost:
- Avatar Props - You can now equip your avatar with animated items he or she can carry around and interact with.
- Avatar Marketplace - Reflect your sense of style with the new Avatar Marketplace. Download and purchase premium items, including branded apparel from fashion labels and Xbox 360 games.
- Games on Demand - You can now download full Xbox 360 games over Xbox LIVE. You can purchase games using Microsoft® Points or a credit card, and download them directly to your console hard drive. No physical disc is required to play these games.
- UI Improvements - Enjoy an enhanced user interface, including streamlined navigation, new ways to sort your friends list, and a revamped achievement browser.
- Xbox LIVE Parties - Invite your friends to an Xbox LIVE Party more easily than ever before, and automatically reconnect if you get disconnected from a party.
- Netflix Updates - Bring your party to Netflix® and watch a movie or TV show together. In addition, browse through new releases and other genre lists, and add the movies or shows to your instant queue from your console.
The most interesting side features are:
- User Ratings - Rate any game content on Xbox LIVE. Also, sort by ratings to find games, demos, trailers, and more that have received top ratings.
- Account Management Enhancements - Show off how long you've been an Xbox LIVE Gold member with a stamp on your gamer card--and get a reminder when your subscription is about to run out.
They listed UI improvements as a feature, so personally I hope this means they succeeded in fixing the dashboard lag they introduced with NXE last year. We'll all know on August 11.
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