Features

30 Things We Didn't Know About NXE

Feature: Detailed hands-on with 360's new dashboard

In less than a month the redesigned Xbox 360 backend, dubbed New Xbox Experience (NXE), will be streamed onto your console. Screens of the redesign have been met with mixed reactions, leading some to argue over whether it looks simple or slick. Good job we're here to clear things up.

The press have used it before, but no-one's been able to properly sit down with the New Xbox Experience and extensively test it. Until now. Here are 30 things we didn't know before.

  1. The first time you boot up the New Xbox Experience you'll be treated to a fancy HD promo movie, which is little more than Microsoft showing off its CGI skills. It begins with an Xbox Guide button "activating", followed by lots of 3D-wizardry, fireworks, mountains and epic music.
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  2. As you can see in the screenshots, the new Dashboard scrolls both horizontally and vertically. Vertical menu items include Welcome, Spotlight, Game Marketplace, Video Marketplace, My Xbox, Friends and Inside Xbox.
  3. Horizontal menus display dynamic content, such as the latest demos or movie releases, while picking the first option takes you 'deeper' into Marketplace or your Games Library to view properly indexed content.
  4. It looks and animates very slick. Game and Video content is now displayed with proper game box art, movie posters or in the case of music videos, album covers.
  5. In the final build some items boxes will be fully animated, so you'll be able to see five seconds of PES loop in the PES 2009 demo box, for example.
  6. We like the new sound effects. They sound less aggressive than those on the current dashboard, and the "powering up" sound effect for the new Xbox Guide is brilliant.
  7. The new Dashboard has extra resolution options over the old one.
  8. Text input menus are now cleaner and very, very blue. Though the colour may or may not change dependent on themes.
  9. The pulsating indicator in the bottom right of the screen is used to indicate your current connected status on Xbox Live. The gamertags of your current friends party are displayed in the top right.
  10. 360 owners who enjoy a nice de-stressing speed-slide through the blades should be very excited by the 'whoosh' potential in the NXE; using the triggers and the left and right bumpers you can swiftly slide through both horizontal and vertical menus. Whoosh!
  11. On the Friends tab the 3D backgrounds change depending on which Theme you're using. The Default theme had giant Xbox pads, guitar amps and spaceships in the background, where as the 'Night' theme puts urban scenery, alley ways and police cars in the background.
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  12. Third party publishers will be able to to change Friend Tab Backgrounds and all NXE content in themes when they have the new dev tools. Microsoft wouldn't tell us if these have shipped yet.
  13. The Spotlight tab displays dynamic content dependent on your Xbox habits. If for example you download lots of movies, the Spotlight will display the latest Video Marketplace downloads it thinks you will like. If you play lots of shooters, it'll recommend the latest Ghost Recon demo, for example.
  14. The My Xbox tab lets you manage your Avatar and profile settings - basically all of the options you find on the current Xbox Guide. Your played games and their achievements are also neatly displayed on the horizontal scroll with a new bonus feature; you can now delete played games you don't want displayed from your list, as long as you have 0 Gamescore on them.
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