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XBL background downloads coming yesterday?

We already suspected it was supposed to drop this month, but Microsoft's Knowledge Base (KB article #919421) has revealed the feature set and the release date for the Xbox 360's long anticipated background downloading functionality. The date: yesterday.

Alright, so they're running a little late (at least it's not Vista-late), but the feature set is promising. Instead of the compromised functionality many of us expected (Arcade games or videos only while downloading), the newly re-dubbed "Active Download feature" is fairly robust. It appears the only thing one can't do while background downloading is play online games, for obvious reasons. Actually, you can play online games -- the system just pauses your download to be resumed later. We've included the contents of the KB article after the break, lest someone at Redmond gets wind and decides to remove it.

Microsoft: roll it out and we'll gladly cross this one off our list of Xbox 360 annoyances (both of em ... this was really annoying).

[Thanks, Gary]

With the spring auto-update of the Xbox Live service scheduled for May 23, 2006, you will have access to the Active Download feature in the Xbox Live Marketplace.

With an active downloads list, you receive the following benefits:
  • Each item that you download is downloaded separately in the background. This lets you continue to use the console while you download an item.
  • You can stream music, play DVDs or CDs, play arcade titles, and play games while you download an item from the marketplace.
  • If you start to play an online game, the download is automatically paused while you play the game to help prevent game lag because of network congestion. This helps you receive the best online gaming experience that the network can provide.
  • All downloads are associated with your profile. If a download is paused or if the download is interrupted, the download will resume the next time that you connect to Xbox Live.
  • You can add items to the active downloads list at any time by selecting more items from the marketplace.
You will receive a notification in the Xbox Guide when an item starts to download and when the download is completed. You will also receive a notification if the download fails.

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