Thanks to the handy transcription of GamePlay Unlimited, we now know that Major Nelson will be giving a few lucky 360 fanboys the chance to download the New Xbox Experience prior to its official release on November 19th.
Word comes from his latest podcast, where Major and E have a brief discussion regarding a listener receiving the NXE before anyone else. E inquires about the possibility of a MajorNelson.com visitor winning the chance to download the NXE early, to which Major answers, "that's pretty much what I'm saying." We don't know how or when, but we guess a few lucky MajorNelson.com visitors will be getting the NXE before it releases to the masses, allowing them to get a head start on their Avatar customization.
[Via Evil Avatar]
"The new Xbox experience will require 128MB of free space. A hard drive is recommended for the optimal experience, to take advantage of some new features, and to be able to enjoy the great movies, TV shows and games available on Xbox LIVE. While we expect the majority of consumers to download the New Xbox Experience without a problem, a small percentage of Xbox 360 owners do not have enough memory to accommodate the update. To help ensure all Xbox LIVE members are able to download the New Xbox Experience and enjoy its new features, Microsoft will be offering storage solutions to the Xbox LIVE community. We are not sharing details of this offering yet. Be sure to check xbox.com for more details in the coming weeks."
There you have it. The NXE is a required dash update, will need roughly 128MBs of storage, a HDD is recommended AND (shocker here) for those who own little or no 360 storage, Microsoft will be offering some sort of "storage solution". We wait for more info ...
Update 2: Some clarification. The release mentions that (at minimum) a 256MB memory card is required for the NXE and Avatar customization, BUT doesn't say how many MBs out of the 256MBs are needed for the update itself. Technically, the update could use up only 150MBs leaving 256MB memory card owners with some extra storage. What's guaranteed is that 64MB card owners or those who have no storage medium are out of NXE and Avatar luck.
Verbatim, the Avatar disclaimer reads "customizing avatars requires a 256 MB memory unit or greater" which really isn't that big of a deal, unless you are a Core or Arcade 360 owner. 256MB of storage would mean that Core owners are totally out of Avatar customization luck (though, we doubt they care) and Arcade owners would have to max out their bundled 256MB memory card. That means our Arcade friends would have to choose: Avatar customization or saving game progress. Decisions, decisions ...
We also want to point out that the NXE transition effects are super duper sexy! Watch closely at the beginning to spot the sleek menu transitions. Delicious!
Have New Xbox Experience n00b questions like "what is it?", "why is this happening?", "what's an Avatar" or (our favorite) "what if I don't want the new dashboard?" Then their helpful guide can help and give you easy to digest answers. We'll even give you a freebie: Even if you don't want the new dashboard, you're out of luck, because it's one of those mandatory Live updates. Then again, why wouldn't you want it and all of its hotness?
"Microsoft did not turn up one day in a speeding car and say, 'They've got Miis - do something!' It wasn't like that at all," says Musgrave, making sure to drive home the point that similarities between Avatars and Nintendo's Miis is purely coincidental. So, yeah ... take that Miis! You aren't being copied on purpose, you're just being copied coincidentally. Yeah!
[Thanks, DCB and SS1029]
in the We were just contacted by our super secret source who forwarded us images that are supposedly from the Fall update's 360 Avatar creator. We're told that the images, all viewable in the gallery below, were pulled from the 360 Avatar creator's interface and showcase the icons that'll be used to customize one's Avatar. Icons and artwork are related to changing an Avatar's clothing, skin color, hair style and even height and weight. Now, we can't be sure if these 360 Avatar creator assets are legit or if they were created by a very skilled Photoshopper, so take this Avatar image extravaganza with a grain of salt. But what say you? Do these images look legit and, if so, do they coupled with the leaked Avatar options make you more or less excited with how Microsoft is presenting Avatars to the gaming masses?
[Thanks, DCB and SS1029]
In an interview with VentureBeat, Microsoft's corporate vice president John Schappert talked about the possibility of monetizing Avatar customization options saying that pairing Avatars with micro transactions "may be in the future," but now they're focusing on launching "with great customization and a great library of accessories this fall." Money, money, money ... it's always about Avatars, micro transactions and money.
Head towards the break to view a long and detailed list of (rumored) Avatar customization options that'll be a part of the Fall update. We even bolded a few of the options that we found to be odd or interesting. Oh, and prepared for a wall of text, because the list is a doozy.
Addressing the two concerns above, Major assures Xbox 360 owners that they won't have to create an Avatar and that installing Xbox 360 titles will never be a requirement. Color us relieved so far. For more details and answers to your questions make sure to check out Major's latest episode.
Gallery: New Xbox Experience
- "There's nothing to announce" right now regarding a keyword search for the Marketplace. We hope for some kind of searching option or a better layout for content
- Playing games from the hard drive will work fine for multi-disc games; in fact, you can pick which discs you want to rip (but a disc swap for the correct disc in the drive is required)
- As an example, Joystiq was told that Devil May Cry 4 is approximately a 4 or 5GB installation and takes about 10 minutes to copy onto a harddive: PS3 installation is roughly 18-25 mins
- You'll need to keep the disc in the drive the entire time. This is about speeding up load times and to check if you own the title -- the disc will not spin so no more jet noises
- Xbox 360 notifications look the same but are actually very cleaned up and look sharper -- the sounds are all the same
- Yes, you can still use your gamertag pics and your themes (they look cleaner and more crisp now, an example of what it could look like is above) -- example of a gamerpic in action is in the top right corner of the image above
Gallery: New Xbox Experience
Team Microsoft said that the potential is there and developers are showing interest in offering unlockable Avatar content using game achievements. Think of items like a Gears of War 2 tshirt for your Avatar to wear if you earn the Seriously achievement or the unlock of a special ninja mask for completing Ninja Gaiden II on the hardest difficulty. It'd be an extra incentive to go after an achievement IF the achievement itself isn't enough, but the rub here is that you have to actually care about your Avatar's clothing. Us, we're all about forgoing the whole wardrobe unlock thing, sporting a naked Avatar and getting double the game's Gamerscore.
Even bigger though is the option to install games entirely to the HDD for faster load times and no disc drive noise. However, to get the installed game to boot, the disc has to still be in the drive for an initial check to make sure you still own it.
The new party system that's built into the interface supports up to eight people and allows for chat, sharing of media, and simultaneous launch of games, all for the entire group. As for the so-called Xbox Live Primetime, it's basically a system that allows users to participate in what amounts to virtual game shows, many complete with prizes and a live host.
The last few bits include a few notes on Avatars, including their integration into Arcade games, future retail releases and of course the newly christened "Live Party". Also, for those techies out there, the update will add 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440x900 or 1680x1050. Oh, and you'll be able to buy anything from the Marketplace via Xbox.com too.
Plus the ol' Major promises that there is still more details to be revealed as the update draws ever closer.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]