A major update to the Xbox dashboard rolls out globally tomorrow.
This launch date was revealed a couple of weeks ago, and Microsoft has stuck steadfastly to the schedule.
As you’ve most likely heard, the upgrade brings a whole new “metro-style” tiled interface to the console, as seen in Windows Phone, and the upcoming Windows 8 – the idea being to unify the UI experience across all platforms.
It looks far more user friendly than the current menu system, which we’ve always found a little convoluted (particularly when we initially encountered it).
Universal Kinect support throughout the dash is also being brought on board, so you won’t just be able to use the motion controller within the device’s hub, but across the whole menu system. Bing powered voice search is also being introduced, a smart idea.
The other main thrust of the update is entertainment, with new TV services coming to the Xbox including Lovefilm, 4oD (Channel 4 on-demand) and the Beeb’s iPlayer (finally). With Bing voice search, you’ll be able to easily sift through this hefty dollop of new content, or that’s the theory.
Other additions include beacons, which flag up games you want to play to your friends (across social networks as well as Xbox Live), and limited cloud storage of half a gigabyte for your saves and other important bits and pieces. Much handier than having to carry a memory card or USB stick to a friend’s.
All in all, it’s an impressive package, particularly for those with Kinect. Let’s hope there are no issues with the roll out and freezing consoles.
As ever, we usually wait until the day after release just to see if there are reports of problems. Should there be, you can then hold fire until Microsoft fixes any flaws.