Microsoft officials have released details of the first in what is intended to be a biannual series of updates to the Xbox 360’s dashboard and software functions, according to previously rumored and now official reports.
One of the most important new additions is a new download manager, which allows for up to six downloads to be queued and prioritized, while allowing users to continue to use the Xbox 360 dashboard, play music or even games – with online gaming pausing the download until the user returns.
A number of changes have also been made to the main dashboard, with a new Media and Entertainment category being added to the Xbox Live Marketplace menu, creating a specific section for movie trailers, music videos and other non-games related content. The existing Game Demos category within the Marketplace can now be searched by genre and there are new sections for gamer pictures and game trailers.
Other changes include the addition of fast forward and rewind functions to all new Marketplace videos, improved data retrieval for CD album names and tracks, and the ability to automatically resume playback of a DVD from where it was last stopped. It is also now possible to set the console’s default start-up to the dashboard and not a game, if a disc is present in the drive when it powers up. A new “idle” indicator has been added to user’s friend lists, as well as the option to have separate gamer pictures for friends and strangers.
The update does not require a hard drive, but is instead flashed to the Xbox 360’s internal hardware. Although there is no specific release date for the update it is expected to be available on Xbox Live within the next two weeks, with the next update due sometime this autumn.