Microsoft planning massive metro Xbox.com overhaul this week

By Tom Warren, on 8th Nov 11 11:34 pm with 30 Comments

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is planning to overhaul its online Xbox site.

The software giant is planning to update Xbox.com “in the coming days” to replaced the “My Xbox” section of the site. “It’s being replaced with a significant update that will make it even easier to see what your friends are doing on Xbox LIVE,” explained Microsoft’s Denny Atkin in a blog post on Tuesday. My Xbox will be replaced 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 is also planning to add search ability to the Zune video catalog and buy/rent movies and TV shows from Xbox.com.

Xbox.com social hub

Microsoft’s social page is Metro inspired and will feature spots for Xbox LIVE events, Marketplace previews, new video and game releases and more. There will also be quick links to show how many friends are online and how many messages you have, very similar to Microsoft’s Windows Phone gaming hub. Below the Xbox LIVE avatar, Microsoft has included some links to common tasks such as viewing your profile, redeeming LIVE marketplace codes and checking the download queue. “The Friends Activity column shows you the popular games that your friends have been playing, who is playing those games right now, and who else has played them recently,” explains Atkin. The activity section is a social hub to track your own activity or others.

Xbox.com activity feed

Microsoft is also revamping the messages section and the ability to visit friends profiles to see beacons they have set for games. The rest of Xbox.com will also be updated to add other new functions to the online site. Xbox.com will also feature a new video section that lets users browser the Zune video catalog and purchase or rent TV shows and movies to watch on their Xbox 360, Windows Phone or Zune device.

Xbox.com Video Marketplace

All the changes will roll out in “the coming days” according to Microsoft. The update to Xbox.com is part of a larger Xbox 360 dashboard update, due to enter beta shortly. Codenamed “Madrid”, the November dashboard update will bring Microsoft’s Metro style interface to the Xbox. 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. Microsoft is also planning to include some type of Marketplace with applications for Xbox 360. The new dashboard will enable Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone integration with Xbox, see a video demonstration here.

Image Credits: Microsoft corporation

  • http://twitter.com/kid_jenius Daniel Paulino

    this 3 screens and a cloud vision is really coming together. and plus, the more metro the public sees, the more associations they make with windows phones.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      I always knew they would get there, but it was hard to imagine just how they would do it.  Metro is the best thing to happen for Microsoft.  Funny how it all started with Zune, yet it has to receive so much crap for not killing the iPod.

  • http://gowindowsgo.com Sam Sabri

    My box is ready for the update! I just need to get Halo: CE. I’ll bum my brothers copies of MW3 and BF3. 

  • Austin Agli

    Cooool

  • http://twitter.com/warex3d warex3D

    I have my windows phone and I love the live tiles, I’m waiting for this overhaul, then waiting for windows 8 ^_^

    • Anonymous

      More than the live tiles, the navigation seems easier, nicer and more straightforward

    • Penta2100

      PS3 has an amazing GUI. The default background is amazing and goes well with the XMB

    • luke516

      PS3′s UI is very basic and the first time I used it I needed a bit to get used to it.
      Imo Xbox has, and always will have the better interface.

    • Anonymous

      One word: stagnant.

  • http://twitter.com/laserfloyd Lewis McCrary

    Waiting to do the beta… come on beta!

  • Anonymous

    It looks quite a bit like the Windows Phone site

  • http://arukun14.com Tim Fangon

    I would give this a +1000^1000 if I could. <3 Metro. :)

  • Jonathan

    Awesome MS!

  • Alique Williams

    When is the overrall Xbox update schedule for?

    • ehuff

      Official word for the xbox dashboard update from MS is “Holiday 2011″, which could mean anytime up to Jan 1.  Rumors are Nov 15.  I’ve also seen Nov 25 listed from a good source, but I guess MS is not giving an official day.  In a recent presentation a MS employee stated “end of year, this winter.” So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and it’s out when its out.

  • Seth_p

    Looks good – I like how MS is making their product sites a little more consistent across the board. Let’s home Live services get’s an overhaul next… they’re long due!

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      They really do.  They’re all so heavy, especially Mail and Messenger.  I hope we get some nice, Metro-inspired updates that don’t take forever to load.

      It would also be nice if my Hotmail contacts didn’t include your “liked” items on Facebook.  I have like 1300 contacts because of this. 

  • http://www.mainstreetchatham.com/ JimmyFal

    I can’t wait for this XBOX beta update. Can’t have my Titan, want my XBOX. This is one way for MS to deliver big time by XMAS, if it arrives by XMAS.

  • http://www.awesomeannie.com/ Sean M

    Good to see Microsoft unifying their UI across all their products. More Metro everywhere!

  • Anonymous

    Metro everywhere nowadays

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Also beacons will be visible on our WP7 devices. Yeah, that’s more like it!

  • ehuff

    I noticed in the windows phone and xbox video that the speaker says the xbox update will “be coming at the end of the year this winter”.  Winter starts on Dec 22.  That with the fact that the beta has not even hit yet, makes me think December is a more likely update time frame for the massive rollout to all.  I think after the beta comes out they need time to test and fix if necessary.  Hope I’m wrong and it will be out here in November though.

  • http://twitter.com/pierrerv Pierre Venescar

    I like that Metro UI Microsoft is using. Even Google is using Metro now go to Gmail.com and see

  • Anonymous

    Zune services access from xbox.com? Yes!

    Makes me wonder if they will eventually collapse the whole zune.net site into xbox.com.

    • http://twitter.com/kid_jenius Daniel Paulino

       Okay WOW, i knew that Android copied stuff from WP, but now google’s practically copying everything MS is doing.

      isn’t there a patent for the metro interface?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2WNLCWLJUCZ3WEHQUXJOVWISBA Wizard

    Its good to see MS unifying all their products. Hopefully very soon, we will see applications on desktop/Web more on Metro design. It really is very unique and attracts every HUMAN :) (now you know if you have to dislike Metro design which category you fall into)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t really know if I like it … Have to experience it myself. Still nice to see everything coming together, following the same design language.

    The old days when every Microsoft page has it’s own structure and a non-consistent look are finally over.

  • Thomas Bundgaard

    That’s it. I’m now admitting that I’m a Metrosexual. 
    That design is just amazing.

  • Jclopren

    I hope MS to deliver the dashboard update BEFORE Xmas. I’ve read somewhere Black Friday. Let’s see.