A couple nights ago we all were treated to the latest update for the XBox Live dashboard after being given glimpses of it’s amazing features at E3 earlier this year.
So far the main feedback I’ve been hearing is pretty cut and dry…. gamers aren’t liking it. Which really is no surprise to me after seeing the first screen of the new dashboard and finding the actual game I wanted to play being displayed in a small box in the top left corner of the screen (while a giant advertisement is dead center).
It’s pretty clear what’s happening here and it’s pretty disappointing. Sure we’re getting some new features that are supposed to make the gaming experience more social, but overall this new update appears to be about advertising and other non-gaming related features instead of focusing on why people buy XBox in the first place, to play games.
Sure, you can setup “beacons” which announce to your friends that you’re interested in playing a game or now you’ll get a notification if a friend of yours is currently playing a game that you just put in, etc… but we sort of had these features before, now they’re just a little more in your face about it.
I guess those features could be helpful somehow but I still can’t get away from the fact that this console is now turning into a “multimedia center” instead of being what it was intended to be, a gaming console.
Another little pet peeve of mine with XBox Live (as I’ve posted about before here) is that they still use the same damn sound for when you get any notification. There’s no way to know (without looking at the message popping up) whether someone just sent you a message, or is just signing online, or now with the beacons or any other notification, because they all use the same little “plink!” sound. It’s just annoying that they’re going through all this trouble to re-do the interface, shove advertisements in our face, and changing up their terms of service to lock us down even more and yet little details that affect our actual enjoyment of the games doesn’t change.
Who wants to look away from the game you’re playing to see if you just got a message or if someone was just signing online? Well if you’re in the middle of an intense race with your buddies, no one does!
Sigh… let’s take a short break and stare at a pretty girl for a sec…
Ok, where were we? Ah, right…
Then again, this just goes to show the differences between corporate companies that got into the gaming world as opposed to gaming companies that became giants in the “corporate” gaming world (Nintendo). You can clearly see Nintendo’s focus on gaming and the overall experience for gamers to enjoy games, I have always loved that about Nintendo. With Microsoft, you can clearly see their focus on advertisements and media that has nothing to do with gaming while still maintaining the ability for gamers to play games. I think Sony is still climbing out from the hacked up rock they’ve been under so we’ll leave them off the radar for now, but they’re essentially what I would consider to be Microsoft’s main competitor for the “multimedia console” market as well.
Since I’m generally passive about things that I can easily overlook or aren’t really a big deal in the “big picture”, I’m not all heated about the new dashboard since at the end of the day, it’s just a dashboard, but I think that the addition of all these “new” features is just a sign that the “gaming console” is now quickly (and very sadly) becoming a thing of the past.
I remember when I used to turn on my console and if I saw friends online, I could be fairly sure they would be playing a game, and then there was a good chance I’d probably jump into a game with them or they would jump into a game of mine, it was part of the fun of signing on. But now when I turn on the XBox and see 20 friends online, it doesn’t really mean anything anymore and that excitement is gone. Now signing on to XBox Live feels more like signing into an Instant Messenger account on your computer and you have no idea what any of your friends on your buddy list are doing or if they even care to play a game with you or not, they’re just online doing whatever.
Call me crazy but I still think gaming consoles should focus on gaming.
Maybe if Microsoft decided to give us a choice to customize our dashboards this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but I’ve never been a fan of having advertisements shoved in my face and so far everyone who’s complained about the dashboard to me has said how flat out stupid it is to have a gaming console put the game in a small box in the corner of the screen while everything else is in your face, namely advertisements.
I can’t help but agree with them, it is pretty damn stupid.
So what do you guys out there think about the new dashboard?
Post your comments below, we’d love to hear them!
7 Comments to New XBox Dashboard – The Good, The Bad, It’s Ugly.
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