It has been an interesting week of leakage and speculation about the Spring dash update and we now know that it's all true. Microsoft has officially pulled back the curtains on the update's features and when we'll be getting our mitts on the all the goodies. First off, we think it'd be appropriate to recap all the big new features that the update has to offer. Without further adieu, the Spring dashboard update will feature ...
Windows Live Messenger IM integration.
More informative achievement notifications.
A brand new Marketplace blade with updated organization.
Upgraded XBLA friend interaction functionality.
Auto-off downloading functionality featuring low power mode.
Enhanced family settings for chatting.
Ability to watch videos while downloading off the XBLM.
Hundreds of other random fixes and tweaks.
Is there anything you think should have been included in the update or something you're specifically looking forward to? Also, will you be using the Windows Live Messenger integration through your 360? Fanboys, it's your duty to discuss!
Update 1: Xbox.com has more information on the other features included in the dash update including various video playback options.
Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360, Expanding the Largest Social Network on Television
Xbox 360 owners can connect with more than 260 million Windows Live Messenger users on Xbox 360, Windows-based PCs and Windows Mobile-powered devices beginning the week of May 7.
REDMOND, Wash. - April 8, 2007 - Your Xbox LIVE® friends list is about to get a whole lot bigger. Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Windows Live™ Messenger on Xbox 360™, connecting friends across Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft® Windows®-based PCs and Windows Mobile®-powered devices. With this update to Xbox 360, friends and families can easily connect and chat directly from their television using Windows Live Messenger, a network of more than 20 billion relationships and more than 260 million active accounts.
Beginning the week of May 7, 2007, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will provide Xbox 360 owners worldwide with access to Windows Live Messenger features, broadening the communication options on the Xbox LIVE social network. Members of the 6 million-strong Xbox LIVE community currently send more than 2 million text and voice messages a day and can now use Windows Live Messenger to text chat with up to six people on their contact list at one time, while playing games, listening to music or watching movies. Text chat adds to the variety of options friends and families already have to communicate with on Xbox LIVE, including voice and video chat.
Current relationships on Windows Live Messenger and Xbox LIVE will be unified on Xbox 360 and users will see at a glance if their existing friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags, instantly expanding the breadth of connected experiences they can share online.
"Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television," said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. "For our growing community of 6 million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360."
Beginning the week of May 7, users of Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360 will text chat using the virtual keyboard accessible on Xbox 360, or by connecting a USB keyboard to the console. This summer Microsoft will launch a QWERTY text-input device, a new accessory that will connect directly into the Xbox 360 controller to support text and instant messaging.
Beyond Windows Live Messenger, the Spring Update for Xbox 360 includes hundreds of new features and enhancements including the following:
- A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.
- Enhanced family settings features for Xbox LIVE communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.
- A new Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade lets Xbox LIVE members access the content they seek - whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States) - from one place on Xbox LIVE.
- Updates to Xbox LIVE Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox LIVE Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox LIVE members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded Tell a Friend capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.
- A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox LIVE Arcade games.
- New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.
The Spring Update is free beginning the week of May 7 and is easily accessible to every Xbox 360 owner through Xbox LIVE or on Xbox.com.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox LIVE online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a catalog of more than 160 high-definition games and is available in 37 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Xbox LIVE
Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
About MSN and Windows Live
MSN® attracts more than 465 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering compelling programmed content experiences to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Windows Live, a new set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Some Windows Live services entered an early beta phase on Nov. 1, 2005; these and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide
About MicrosoftFounded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.