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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Xbox 360 Spring Update Launches Tomorrow

by Rainier on May 8, 2007 @ 6:12 p.m. PDT

Tomorrow Microsoft will launch Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360, connecting friends across X360 consoles, PCs and Windows Mobile-powered devices. With this spring update to Xbox 360, friends and families can easily connect and chat directly from their television using Windows Live Messenger.

Beginning May 9, 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.

Connected Experiences

Members of the six-million-strong Xbox Live community currently send more than two 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.

Other New Features

Beyond Windows Live Messenger, the Spring Update for Xbox 360 includes hundreds of new features and enhancements including:

  • 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.

You may not even notice all the new features, but they are all designed to enhance your Xbox Live experience. Some of the other features in this upgrade include:

  • The name of game in tray is now displayed in the dashboard.
  • When the tray icon is highlighted, a list of achievements, game icon and gamerscore for that game is displayed.
  • Video trick modes are enabled for content that is being progressively downloaded from Video Marketplace.
  • Playback progress bar indicates download completion.
  • Improved skip forward, skip back functionality during video playback.
  • Switchable aspect ratio now available during video playback (Auto to Letterbox, Zoom, Stretch, Native).
  • Background downloads can occur after the console has been turned off—the console will automatically power down when background downloads complete (not enabled by default).
  • Earned Achievement notifications now show Achievement and Gamerscore details over the game without having to bring up the guide or leave the game.
  • Player and friends lists now quickly show session presence information for quick identification of users that are joinable.
  • Marketplace has now been raised to its own Dashboard blade to improve navigation.
  • Added Windows Live ID management functionality to Account Management.

Arcade Improvements

  • "Friends Playing Now" feature: Quickly find your friends in Arcade, see what they’re playing and join in the fun. Friend information is displayed in multiple locations throughout Arcade.
  • Tell a friend: Send messages to your friends and boast about your latest achievements and earned high scores. Three new messages have been added to help you exalt your accomplishments.
  • Auto downloads: Have Arcade automatically all free and trial games directly to your collection. Build your collection quickly and easily through background downloads. A simple press of the X button will bring up the queue for review.
  • Expanded Arcade Leaderboard and Compare Achievements: Scroll through your entire friends leaderboard list (up to 100) and compare achievements.

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