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Reminder: Find out if you get NXE preview access [update]

Update: Major Nelson just informed us that the NXE notification emails are being sent out over the next few hours. Good luck, fanboys!

Today is the day that separates the men from the women, the hardcore from the casual and the l33t from the n00b. Today is the day we find out who was accepted and who was denied New Xbox Experience preview access.

Sometime in the next twelve hours, Microsoft will be emailing those who were accepted into the NXE preview program which will ultimately give access to the NXE prior to its November 19th launch. NXE access as early as next week. So, for those of you who were able to fill out the survey and sign up, cross your gaming fingers and obsessively check your inbox, because NXE preview notification emails are being sent out today!

HD Netflix set to debut on the Xbox 360

High definition Netflix content streaming is something we didn't think was possible, especially on the Xbox 360. Well, it is possible and HD Netflix streaming is going to debut on the Xbox 360 when the New Xbox Experience releases on November 19th.

According to our friends over at Engadget, Microsoft and Netflix will soon announce that Xbox Live gold members will have access to high definition Netflix movie streaming to their 360s come November 19th. HD movie streaming that isn't available with Netflix's current "Watch Instantly" portal, Roku hardware or Samsung and LG's Netflix enabled Blu-ray players. The HD Netflix roll out will be slow at first with approximately 300 movies being available in HD on day one of the NXE's launch. To recap: Netflix subscription + Xbox Live gold + NXE = HD movies and very happy Xbox 360 owners.

[Thanks, DeadPlasmaCell]

Surprise! Avatar store coming next Spring

According to the peeps over at VideoGamer.com, Microsoft will be launching an Avatar store next Spring where gamers can purchase and download additional customization options for their 360 Avatars.

"The plan of record will be to launch a more extensive Avatar Store from spring time onwards next year," said Live EMEA product manager Robin Burrowes. "That store in theory would have branded content in there, game publisher IP stuff in there as well." No surprise there.

To be honest, we're still torn about Avatars, the role they'll be playing in our New Xbox Experience, how Microsoft is approaching the monetizing of them and whether or not we'll be willing to pay for a Gears of War 2 t-shirt for our Avatar next Spring. Because ... you know ... an Avatar rockin' a Gears 2 tee would be rather badass.

Were you accepted into the NXE preview? Find out on Oct. 29th

For those of you who were able to register for the New Xbox Experience preview before it closed, circle this Wednesday, October 29th on your daily planner, because that's when NXE preview notifications will be sent out.

On his latest podcast, Major Nelson confirmed that emails will be sent out this Wednesday to those who were chosen to participate in the NXE preview. Because - as you should know by now - those who signed up for the NXE preview are not guaranteed entry. Only a few thousand will be chosen. Also note that this Wednesday's NXE emails will only notify those who are accepted into the preview program and will not be the official start of the preview. Downloading the NXE will come at a later, yet to be determined date that will be before November 19th.

NXE: A brief look at Netflix and the XBVM

As is customary every week, the Gamerscore Blog crew just highlighted a New Xbox Experience feature to show off and this week they're talking Netflix and the new and improved Video Marketplace.

Their informative NXE blurb doesn't inform us of anything excitingly new, but does reinforce the fact that 10,000 Netflix videos will be available for streaming to unlimited rental Netflix subscribers and that 20,000 pieces of XBVM content is available as well. Check out the NXE screen grabs below and keep those NXE preview fingers crossed.

Gallery: New Xbox Experience - Netflix and XBVM

NXEOld MarketplaceNXE

Get a chance to preview the New Xbox Experience [update]

Update: Hopefully you already registered because, according to Major Nelson, the "preview program is now FULL." That was quick.

You were promised the chance and now your chance is here. You (yes YOU) can preview the upcoming New Xbox Experience prior to its release on November 19th.

Microsoft is looking for a few thousand NXE preview participants to give the NXE a trial run prior to its official release to, you know, make sure everything is functioning correctly. To sign up for your chance to be selected as a previewer, simply head to Microsoft Connect, register using your Windows Live ID, then click here to fill out the official NXE preview survey. Answer a few questions, submit that sucker and cross your fingers in hopes that you are selected. And just in case you weren't listening, only a few thousand registrants will be selected, so filling out the survey does not guarantee a NXE preview.

Note too that those who are selected will not have access to a full-featured NXE. Though, things like Netflix, Live parties and Avatars will be included. Now go, get registered and hope for the best!

[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

NXE storage solution: Free 512MB memory card or cheap 20GB HDD

Last week, Microsoft informed us that they'd be offering a "storage solution" to Xbox 360 Arcade and Core owners who didn't have 128MBs of storage to install the New Xbox Experience. We now have those storage solution specifics.

Microsoft just launched a new Xbox Storage Upgrade website where Arcade and Core owners can request their storage solution. All you have to do is enter your console's serial number and ID, then the system will check to make sure your console isn't an Elite or Pro. Some are reporting that the system knows if you have a HDD connected and will deny your storage upgrade, so be careful. Once your console is verified to be lacking 128MBs of storage, you'll be given a special offer based on which console you own. The storage solution offers are:
  • Xbox 360 Acade owners: Refurbished 20GB HDD + 3 months of Xbox Live for $30.
  • Xbox 360 Core owners: 512MB memory card for free OR refurbished 20GB HDD for $20
[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

A look at the NXE's Marketplace online

With the November 19th launch of the New Xbox Experience, not only will we see a complete dashboard overhaul, but changes are a coming to Xbox.com and the Xbox Live Marketplace.

The Gamerscore Blog just posted a image preview of how Xbox.com will look with its enhanced XBLM features, including the ability to browse all XBLM content, purchase goodies using your Microsoft points and queue up downloads that'll insta-download the next time you turn on your Xbox 360. We already know this is going to be an extremely useful XBLM searching tool and one of convenience, thumbs up to the Microsoft peeps.

Gallery: The New Xbox Experience - XBLM on Xbox.com

MS to offer NXE 'storage solutions' to those in need

After learning that the New Xbox Experience and Avatar customization would require, at minimum, a 256MB memory card, it spawned more questions than answers. Would the NXE install take up all 256MB? If so, what about Xbox 360 Arcade owners and their tiny 256MB memory card? Wait, what about Core customers who don't have storage or own a 64MB memory card? What are they to do and is the NXE update a mandatory download? CONFUSION! So, we reached out to. Major Nelson and, thankfully, he cleared up said confusion ...

"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 ...

Netflix adds Starz and more to streaming library

In preparation for the Fall release of the Netflix streaming enabled New Xbox Experience, Netflix just announced that they're adding additional content to their streaming library including a boatload of content from Starz.

Come this Fall, Netflix will add an additional 2,500 pieces of content for streaming (that's 30,000 pieces of content in total), including movies from Starz Play like Spider-Man 3, Ratatouille, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Superbad, and No Country for Old Men. You'll need an unlimited subscription plan to have access to all the Netflix goodies when the NXE releases and, just to whet your appetite, 1,000 hunks of new content are available TODAY with the other 1,500 being added by the time the NXE launches. Happy days!

NXE: A look at Themes 2.0 and the Friends Channel

Digging even deeper into the New Xbox Experience, today the Gamerscore Blog crew is showing off the NXE's "Themes 2.0" and the super special "Friend Channel". Complete with silly Avatars and other shenanigans.

You can view a bunch of today's newly released NXE screenshots in the gallery below (sorry, no video goodness this week) and read about how dashboard themes will work in the new dashboard as well as how you'll connect with your friends. We're loving the 3D effects that the new themes utilize, but are still torn regarding the Avatar friends visualizations. Oh well. Make the jump to read, click the screenshots below and get NXE informed.

Gallery: New Xbox Experiece - Themes and Friends

360 dashboard ad claims NXE releases in Nov.

An eagle-eyed tipster just informed and sent picture proof to our Joystiq pals that the New Xbox Experience dashboard update will be releasing sometime in November. Or so says a Rock Band 2 / Stride ad that's featured on the 360's dash.

As one can see in the photographic proof above, the dash ad tells us to "Check out the New Xbox Experience coming in November!" With this new information we have to ask ourselves, can this dash ad be trusted? Will we experience a NXE in November? What shall we eat for lunch? Microsoft has been contacted and we patiently wait for answers to these hard hitting questions.

The most common Fall update questions answered

If you're totally clueless in regards to all the "New Xbox Experience" talk, confused to no end and just want some of your basic questions answered, then TechRadar's "everything you need to know" article is just for you.

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?

Rare: Work on Avatars done 'before Miis were part of the gaming scene'

In an interview with Eurogamer, Rare's lead artist Lee Musgrave revealed that work on Avatars was done "before Miis were part of the gaming scene" and were only decided to be a part of the New Xbox Experience after Microsoft saw concepts of the lil' customizable characters.

"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!

New Xbox Experience relaunch was lies, all lies

Earlier in the week, rumor spread quickly across the internets regarding Microsoft's supposed plans to hold a five hour long New Xbox Experience relaunch event aired on G4 TV. An event that would celebrate the rollout of the Fall update, usher in free games, new game announcements and excitement galore. Well, that was total balderdash. Fake, fake, fake!

G4's own Adam Sessler confirmed the fact that the network and Microsoft have no plans for an event later this month, going as far as to dedicate his latest episode of "Sessler's Soapbox" to the topic specifically (vid after the break). Sessler not only denies the baseless (but totally awesome) rumor, but goes on to discuss politics and how irresponsible the media can be by not investigating or looking for answers. Damn the media. We always disliked those media folks.

Continue reading New Xbox Experience relaunch was lies, all lies

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