Microsoft’s Xbox.com update has brought with it a change to Xbox LIVE accounts.
The software giant has made it possible to disable auto Xbox LIVE renewal on accounts. The change, noted by posters at Reddit, allows Xbox LIVE users to simply disable automatic renewal, to prevent an unexpected renewal of an account. Long Zheng originally picked up on the change in late October after an anonymous Microsoft employee promised that the feature would be enabled soon:
“I’m a developer that works on Xbox Live. You are correct to be upset, this is purely an account retention feature. They figured people would either forget about their accounts and continue to pay, or that they could be swayed with discounts if they called to ask for it to be cancelled. Rest assured there are plenty of people at MS that agree that this attitude is bullshit.”
The update is part of Microsoft’s broad set of xbox.com and dashboard changes during November. The software maker has refreshed its Xbox.com homepage with a new social section that shows what Xbox friends are doing and provides access to the beacons feature in the next Xbox 360 dashboard. The feature allows users to mark games they want to play with others, making it easier for friends to find time to game with each other. Microsoft has also added search ability to the Zune video catalog and buy/rent movies and TV shows from Xbox.com.
Microsoft started to push beta copies of the Xbox 360 fall dashboard update out to testers on Thursday. The November dashboard update will bring Microsoft’s Metro style interface to the Xbox. Microsoft is expected to start distributing the beta dashboard to participants at 1PM PST. Microsoft is also preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music and other content on their consoles. The new dashboard will also enable Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone integration with Xbox, see a video demonstration here.