July 14th 2008 5:30 pm PT

Some of the features in the new Xbox experience (8 person chat, VGA support and more)

Xbox LIVE GM Marc Whitten (Notwen) has sent me the following letter to share with the Xbox LIVE Community. I goes into a little more detail about some of the new features that are coming as part of the new Xbox Experience this Fall. I’ll work on getting Marc on a future show to discuss further.

Dear Xbox LIVE Member,


When we launched Xbox 360 in November 2005, Xbox LIVE was integrated directly into the console. Back then, Xbox 360 was the first system to deliver access to experiences beyond just the disc in the tray. With the Xbox guide and dashboard you had access to everything on your console as well as your community.

We also imagined that Xbox experience would continuously improve over time, through the power of software.

Since launch, youve always pushed us to continuously innovate. It is because you spoke with one loud voice that we added new features like background downloading, 1080p support, movies and TV shows, video chat, a Marketplace blade and instant messaging.

Over time, as weve delivered more and more content into the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, weve heard from many of you that it has become increasingly difficult to find the games and content you want.

And that brings us to today.

Because of your feedback, we started rethinking the entire Xbox experience. What we discovered was that we could not only provide a better experience for you, but also something that reaches out to new audiences.

What John Schappert unveiled for the world on stage at E3 was just a sneak preview, so I wanted to share some deeper details on some of the new features in the new Xbox experience.

Here is a look at some additional features you will find interesting:

Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive.  Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.

Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web.  Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console.  Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.

Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide.  For everyone who loves the blades interface, its not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide.  You can even access your full games library at all times.  No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.   

LIVE Party system.  Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos.  It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games.  LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing. 

Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends.  Games will support everything youd expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show.  Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions.  Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen. 

Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag – it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars.  You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community.  Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games. 

New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440×900 or 1680×1050.

This is only the beginning.  Over the next few months, we will share more details on the upcoming changes. 

See you online,

Marc Whitten

Gamertag- Notwen


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