New images and video of Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 dashboard leaked online over the weekend.
The images come directly from Microsoft’s XDK kit. The code is only available for Microsoft’s XDK systems, reserved for games developers. Microsoft typically provides access to its XDK on a limited basis. Games developers are required to sign Non-disclosure agreements to prevent any leaks of Microsoft’s development systems. The leak was discovered by forum users at Neogaf.com, a dedicated site to gaming discussions. The latest leak does not provide any hints at new features but demonstrates Microsoft’s progress with its new user interface. A similar video leaked in August and demonstrated a new “discoverable” option in the dashboard settings. Microsoft describes the option as “change your settings to allow companion devices to discover your Xbox. The setting will allow Xbox users to link Windows Phone and other companion devices to the gaming console.
Microsoft’s new user interface borrows key elements from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 user interfaces. The Xbox dashboard now features live tiles in the same way that Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 do. The interface uses Microsoft’s much talked about Metro style user interface standard across the whole dashboard. Microsoft is also preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox 360. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music, Xbox LIVE content and more. Microsoft is also planning to include some type of Marketplace with applications for Xbox 360.
Microsoft will also introduce an Xbox LIVE TV service as part of its dashboard update. Microsoft is looking to use the Xbox as a distribution device for cable TV and is reportedly working to secure lucrative deals with the biggest cable TV providers in the United States. The company originally announced its plans for an Xbox TV service at the E3 entertainment expo earlier this year.
Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 dashboard will enter the beta testing phase in October. The company is planning a Preview Program for the new dashboard, similar to last years preview. Microsoft is expected to announce details of the preview program in the coming weeks. Current rumors suggest that the final version of the dashboard will be made available to users on November 15, exactly 10 years after the original Xbox was released.