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Xbox 360 Experience
by Lewis O'Brien

By now it has become obvious that the Wii is leading the next gen console war with roughly 25 million sold world wide, and the main reason for this is the attraction of it’s games to a more casual audience. The 360 and PS3 are often seen as the ‘hardcore gamers’ consoles. Exclusives such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit have made Nintendo’s latest console one that the family can use together. Microsoft have realised this and tried to combat it with the introduction of the Xbox Experience. Experience will be a new dashboard to replace the five screened one 360 owners are used to – but if you prefer the old one you can keep it, as Experience is optional.

The new areas will be: Spotlight, Games, My Xbox, Primetime, Community, and Videos with each area having its own screens. Spotlight is where to go for the most popular and eagerly anticipated stuff on Xbox Live and will often be updated to give you all the latest must haves.

MyXbox seems to be an improvement on the original dashboard, you’ll be able to check your achievements, add pictures and edit your profile. You will also be able to view your Medals; this new feature gives you a little medal when you get an achievement, although this seems pretty similar to what they’ve got already.

Primetime is where Microsoft is hoping to attract casual gamers. Here you play game shows with others over Live. You can participate or just watch these shows and Microsoft plan to eventually introduce live hosts and prizes. Currently Microsoft has only shown one feature for Primetime, a large scale quiz with up to 100 players.

Community is the Xbox’s version of the PS3’s Home and the Wii’s Mii. Create your own avatar that everyone else will see you as. You can also quickly see what your friends are doing and join a Live Party with them; you can chat with your group even if you aren’t all playing the same game or if one of you is watching a film. Microsoft also plan on releasing game where you use your avatar in the game.

You can now also install your games on to your 360, Microsoft claim this increases loading time and makes the ear numbingly loud 360 a bit quieter as the disk no longer needs to be spinning to play the game, although the correct disk still needs to be in the disk drive for pirating reasons or something.

Despite some flaws Experience looks set to be a popular new feature but may be shunned by more hardcore gamers because of its similarity to the Wii.

Experience is due for release this autumn.


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- Lewis O'Brien

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