Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Xbox 360 Spring Update - Good Thing Bandwidth Is Cheap

The latest firmware update to the Xbox 360 is set to roll out this week, and the feature list has left me wondering - is anyone excited about this? Updates for the 360 only come twice a year, unlike the seemingly weekly releases for the PS3, so people used to actually look forward to these things. I remember when background downloading was finally announced - that was an update to remember. But now...if the download wasn't automatic, it almost wouldn't be worth the time.

Here are some of the upcoming features, taken from the official Microsoft press release:
  • Tie in with Windows Live Messenger, so you can IM with your Messenger contacts directly from your 360.
  • Support for the handheld QWERTY keyboard attachment, set to be released later this summer.
  • A more complete achievement notification, detailing the name of the unlocked achievement and the points awarded.
  • A new Live Marketplace blade for accessing content from Live.
  • New download options for games (XBLA and demos) and Marketplace video content.

And, of course, we can't forget about the more robust parental controls - I know everyone's been waiting for those.

Honestly, there's just nothing here to write home about for me. I guess the IM tie-in is big for some people, though I've never liked instant messaging myself. And don't get me wrong - I'm glad MS is still developing the capabilities of the console - but something new and innovating would be nice. How about DivX support? Or a (good) browser?

Of course, there's no reason not to get the update, but I'd wait a couple days to download it. These updates have been known to brick a few consoles, and the 360 doesn't really need any help there. Let's just hope that Bill Gates has something good up his sleeve for the fall.

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