Before hopping into my car and heading off to work this morning, I powered up my Xbox to chance a brief encounter with the New Xbox Experience, a brand new dashboard for the three-year-old console. Based on my short time with it, my only complaint is that I wish I had gotten up earlier this morning. Well, that and I wish I had a bigger hard drive on my Xbox.
Updating to the new dashboard was easy and much faster than I thought it would be. Upon booting up, my console showed me the normal update blade informing me that I a system update was available, and that I had to install it in order to continue using Xbox Live. I accepted, the download took only a few seconds, and the Xbox restarted.
When the power came back on, a new update screen awaited, this time telling me that the NXE was downloading, and giving me the option to cancel the update (which I was relieved to see, because at this point, I still wasn’t sure if I’d have time to check it out before leaving for work). The progress bar began moving, and the onscreen text changed to reflect this – 5 minutes remaining.
I was quite surprised at this. Not only did I expect the update to be quite large and subsequently take 10-20 minutes to download, but I also assumed the Xbox Live network might be bogged down by all the traffic. Not so. Not at six in the morning, anyway. I hear the Xbox Live Marketplace is having trouble today, however.
I ducked into the bathroom and did my usual morning grooming, and returned with only 2 minutes left for the download. I watched the progress tick by. When the NXE was finished, I was treated to a neat intro video featuring the familiar Xbox 360 sphere taking different forms, flying around all sorts of games and media, and finally coming to rest in the corner of the screen where it resides in the new dashboard. I wasn’t able to hear any of this unfortunately, since I didn’t want to wake up my girlfriend, but I can say that the visuals were neat.
Once the video was over, the NXE prompted me to select a profile, and then to create an avatar for it. A selection of random avatars rushed onto the screen, and I was given the option to use one as a base for my own or to usher in a new group. I randomized the group a few times, found one that looked like a good place to start, and began crafting my virtual Xbox self (pictured above).
The avatar editor is easy to use, loads everything relatively fast, and was quick and responsive. I fiddled around with it for a few minutes, leaving a lot to check out later today when I have more time to play with it. My avatar actually looks kind of like me, but only when you see him from an angle, since he’s got a pony tail.
I spent the remainder of my time buzzing through the menus just looking at stuff – which was quite confusing. It’s probably going to take me a while to get used to the new menu hierarchy, but the system seems so much more responsive now, especially in the guide, I think I’ll manage with that just fine.
As I mentioned above, the only thing I really feel like I need to do now is pick up a larger hard drive. The 20gb hard drive that came with the system has served me well, but with the new NXE option to install games, I’d like a little more space than what I have now. I can’t see myself installing every game I own, but newer / frequently played games wouldn’t hurt.
Aside from that minor gripe however, the NXE is looking to be a great improvement over the blades of old, and I’ll be using it and writing about it more soon. Thanks for reading, and hopefully your Xbox update is as enjoyable as mine was, however brief it might be.