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.
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.
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.
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