If you're looking to pull off those floating black text boxes for your Xbox 360 Windows Live Messenger fun, this little guide can help. Over on Xbox.com they've posted a Spring dashboard FAQ featuring a few keyboard shortcuts for the 360 IM'ers among us. Opening, closing, and navigating the numerous text boxes is a breeze with these keyboard shortcuts. Also included in the FAQ is one of those "corporate responses" to Xbox Live members having trouble signing up for the service. More specifically, they are looking into a fix for those who are over 18 years old, but created their accounts when they were under age. Yeah, it's a screwed up system, but we say no more. More reading after the jump.
For those of you who use VGA to connect your 360 to a display, the Spring update is perfect for your washed out display woes. Included in the Spring dashboard update is a reference levels setting under the displays option, which toggles your interpret black levels to help get those blacks even blacker. The VGA's washed out effect is due to both the VGA cable and HDTV's default black levels not meshing, so the new reference levels setting gives you three options (standard, intermediate, and expanded) to correct the difference. Any VGA users willing to give the reference levels a test and see if it makes your display's picture prettier?
One of the less publicized additions in the Xbox 360 Spring Update is a handful of new video codecs. Mention the word "codec" however, and you can be sure that the folks at Engadget are paying attention. The new dash update brought with it some spiffy high definition codecs and Engadget has given them a test drive. With fresh 1080p support (at up to 10MBps) Engadget declares the Xbox 360 the new king of streaming video, effectively shoving the Apple TV into the deep recesses of an ancient couch. Hit the "read" link for Engadget's full breakdown of the new codecs and their performance.
It has been a longtime coming, but no more rumors and no more speculation ... we have an official release date and time. Today, at around 2:00AM pacific (a few hours away) the Spring dash update will make its way onto the Xbox Live servers for members to download in masses. The update will bring Windows Live Messenger integration, a new restructured Marketplace, and more fixes and fun too numerous to mention. With the amount of anticipation surrounding this dash update, one would think it were going to actually change people's lives or solve world hunger. But it won't, it'll simply make our dash a happier place to be. So, take a seat and relax for a bit, because our Spring dash update will be here in a few hours. Full press release after the break.
No, this isn't an announcement about the Spring dashboard update's release, but it is an announcement for two dash videos that you can watch while you're waiting. Up on the XBLM are two videos that demo and showcase all the new features that the Spring update will bring. For those of you who still aren't sure to what's included or if you have friends who are clueless, downloading the videos will be an easy way to get learnified. And since you have nothing better to do today, give the vids a download and a quick watch.
Even though we haven't seen the videos yet, rumor has it there is a pink gopher halfway through video number two. What? Seriously, would we make that up? Okay fine ... we just wanted you to download the videos. Don't hate us.
Finally, official word has come through the internet pipeline about the Spring dashboard update. Major Nelson jumped on his blog to tell everyone that the new dash update will not be released today (Tuesday) and doesn't give any hard release details. We know everyone is eager to get the update, but it's important to remember that Microsoft stated way back when that the Spring update would be released the week of May 7th and not the day of. Just sit back and don't bother firing up your 360 periodically throughout the day, because the Spring update will not be there. But be sure to keep your fingers crossed for a Wednesday release. Come on lucky Wednesday!
Monday's sun is setting and we still have yet to hear from Microsoft about the Spring dashboard update. But talk is a flutter over on the Xbox.com forums from Xbox Live members who've contacted customer support and are hearing that the update will roll out tomorrow, May 8th. Some even heard from CS managers a 3:00AM pacific time frame for when the dash update will be released. We of course can't confirm such talk, but we aren't expecting the update to be released today anymore, so tomorrow is the next best thing. Any fanboys talk to Xbox CS and hear something different?
Just a friendly reminder that the feature rich Spring dashboard update is coming sometime this week. As promised, the update will be going live during the week (this May 7th), but any other details are a little sketchy. The Xbox Live team may release it sometime today, tomorrow, or even Friday ... we just aren't sure. But be rest assured that once we hear any news about when it'll be going live, we'll let you know. Okay fanboys, the countdown to an unknown release is on.
Those Microsoft MVPs sure like to brag. Godfree from Gamertag Radio took time out of his busy schedule just to let us know that he and the other MVPs have already received the impending spring dashboard update. You know, the one that has Live Messenger and an improved Marketplace and all that jazz? Yup, he's already got it. While we're a little miffed that we have to wait, all is not lost, as Godfree promises to give us all some first hand impressions during the next episode of GTR. For now, we'll just have to play more Guitar Hero II and dream of the Halo 3 beta.
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.
Not only that, but Microsoft also announced that they'll be releasing a new QWERTY text-input peripheral (seen here) this Summer that attaches to the Xbox 360 controller. Also, Joystiq separately confirmed that the once speculated "Play Game" feature will indeed be included in the new dash update. Now no more guessing which game is in the drive. The Spring update will go live on May 7th with all the new IM integration and updated features. Full press release after the break and be sure to take a look at Joystiq or Engadget's Spring dash photo galleries.
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.
It's springtime again, which can mean only one thing. No, not the impending arrival of young couples making out behind the bushes at the park, it's time for Xbox 360 Spring update rumors. Clan support has been a rumored addition for a while now, and there are even some alleged pictures of it in action (see above). Before we define this a little further, let's just get this out of the way: clan support is not part of the upcoming spring update. This was confirmed by Major Nelson himself during our latest Xbox 360 Fancast.
Now for clarification's sake, it's perfectly possible for any given game to have clan support. As such, screens like the one above may be legitimate. However, Major Nelson informed us that Microsoft has no plans to integrate clan support into the 360 itself. In other words, there are no plans to add universal clan support that spans multiple games. Clan support is offered by Microsoft, but it is up to developers to implement it into individual titles.
So, there you go, no clan support in the spring update. Of course, that doesn't stop us from speculating about other features.
German website Cynamite is reporting that Microsoft has released a dashboard update to developers that will quiet the loud Xbox 360 DVD drive. This update will supposedly prevent the DVD drive from spinning at full RPM unnecessarily and will manage the drive's spin speed much better. In general, the update would tell the DVD drive not to spin so fast when it isn't needed, which would in turn make it less noisy. Cynamite is also reporting that the dashboard update should be coming to Xbox Live soon for the rest of us to download. Even though we know your answer we have to ask, would you welcome an update that would ultimately quiet down your 360's DVD drive?
Major Nelson reports -- from a rest stop in Massachusetts -- that a fix has been created for those having trouble with the Fall Update. Those of you that have had no problems with the update will not be prompted to get the fix and may continue on as if nothing happened. Those of you who have had trouble should call Xbox Support. We're not really sure how you apply an update to a bricked console, but that's probably why you have to call customer support. If anyone out there manages to get this patch, leave a comment here and tell us what the process was like.
Since yesterday's update, there are numerous reports about 360s being bricked. Some people suspect that this is being done by Microsoft intentionally to stop modders and hackers. Xbox Scene thinks it has more to do with certain combinations of hardware and firmware. That would explain why some people are reporting problems even with new, unmodded 360s. Other readers have informed X360F that they are unable to even complete the update download itself. Since the update can't complete, the 360 won't even allow users to play offline games for "security" reasons. It's worth noting that Microsoft is definitely aware of these issues.
Having heard about these problems, we tested our own 2005 360 with a few levels of Lego Star Wars II -- purely for research, of course. So far, we haven't encountered any problems since the update. How about the rest of you? Any bricked or otherwise nonfunctional 360s out there since yesterday? Leave a comment here and let your voice be heard.
Update: Microsoft has released a new version of the update that should behave with all console configurations now. If you've been afraid to update, it should be safe now. Those whose consoles have already been wrecked are advised to call customer support. Click here for more details.