New Xbox dashboard includes a marketplace with apps

By Tom Warren, on 6th Jun 11 8:25 pm with 26 Comments

Apps and Marketplace on new Xbox dashboard

Microsoft revealed its new Xbox dashboard interface on Monday.

The 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 UI standard across the whole dashboard. The company has also integrated Kinect and Bing into the core of Xbox to allow Kinect owners to control every part of their Xbox 360 with voice or gestures.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the new dashboard is the presence of an applications section. Simply named “apps”, Microsoft didn’t venture into the section during its on-stage demos on Monday, but made several screenshots of the dashboard interface available in a press kit. The apps section appears to contain existing third-party Xbox applications and a Marketplace, presumably to discover more. Microsoft previously revealed in November that it was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox as part of the next wave. The company has been suspiciously quiet about its Silverlight Xbox plans ever since. Microsoft is positioning Silverlight as its strong multi-platform base to bridge the gap between mobile, PC and Xbox.

Microsoft had been previously rumored to introduce Silverlight for Xbox at its MIX11 developers conference, it now looks likely that the company will unveil the Xbox Marketplace at its BUILD conference in September. Microsoft’s Silverlight Xbox play ties in nicely with the company’s plans for Windows 8 too. The software giant has created an “immersive” touch experience for Slate and Tablet based devices that replaces the traditional start menu. The experience includes a Metro based user interface that hooks into HTML5 and JavaScript based web apps. Microsoft is also expected to be developing a new application model codenamed “Jupiter” that will allow developers to create Silverlight based applications, deployed as AppX packages (.appx). The packages will be part of a new Windows application store, pre-installed with Windows 8.

Microsoft isn’t talking Silverlight on Xbox or Windows 8 at this stage but given that the company uses the development platform for its Windows Phone applications, it seems a natural fit for its future platforms. The company plans to make the dashboard update available later this year by which time we’ll know even more about any plans for app development on the Xbox 360.

  • Diego3336

    I’m surprised to see the Zune tile there. When they tell at E3 about “Xbox Live Videos”, “Xbox Live Music” et al, I thought it was the confirmation of the Zune-brand end.

    • Morgan Wisbey

      I wouldnt read too much into the Zune tile. That can be a placeholder until they make an official announcement. Tiles can be swapped out quite easily.

    • Jay Swanson

      or maybe all the talk of killing zune was BS that no one should have read into to begin with

    • Morgan Wisbey

      I wouldnt read too much into the Zune tile. That can be a placeholder until they make an official announcement. Tiles can be swapped out quite easily.

  • Neerav Patel

    Microsoft really need to stop with the softly softly approach to revealing there upcoming products.

    WP7 and handful of mango features
    Win8 and silverlight (more understandable i guess)
    Xbox with apps

    • Steve Dobs

      yeah they shouldn’t have gone so kinect-crazy at e3…yeah it’s new thing but let people know that’s just one part of xbox. Nerdy gamers are wigging out right now about ms not caring about them.

      And I think fighting it out with the zune brand is smart if that’s what they’re doing. It’s slowly gaining mindshare and that’s a huge part of the battle for microsoft.

    • Anonymous

      “yeah they shouldn’t have gone so kinect-crazy at e3…yeah it’s new thing but let people know that’s just one part of xbox. Nerdy gamers are wigging out right now about ms not caring about them”

      nerdy gamers need to grow the f up. Seriously, its not like they aren’t putting out FPS like mad. They don’t need to spend every E3 focusing on it. MS wants to create an ecosystem to encompass, hardcore, casual and family gamers. They have to be able to spend time reaching out to those type of gamers.They’ve built a solid hardcore gamer experience already. Its time to spend time talking about the casual/family games and entertainment. The more people they get on the xbox the better for us all.

    • guest

      Well said.  There was plenty for everyone… games and entertainment.

      I’m starting to think the vast majority of Kinect haters are cheeto eatin’ fatties than couldn’t do anything active anyways.  They break a sweat peeling an orange I bet.

  • Martyn Metalous

    As a developer, I care little for HTML 5 and Javascript, some sort of twisted misery imo.

    However Silverlight and XNA across multiple platforms including XBOX and tablets would keep me loyal to Microsoft for a long time to come.

    • Tim

      “As a developer, I care little for HTML 5 and Javascript, some sort of twisted misery imo.”

      +1000. The idea of a transition towards that crap scares the hell out of me. There’s a reason I don’t do it now and its certainly not because I can’t.

    • Anonymous

      This exactly, christ almighty.

      HTML5 and javascript are all well and good for the web but they are HARD to work with for large applications. silverlight is currently infinitely betters for creating “app” experiences imo. I understand they’re leveraging the fact that so many people know javascript and HTML5, but those people are web developers and use those technologies for simple websites not web apps. Making applications with those technologies is mind numbing to get to work on one broswer reliably let alone many. Even google write most of their stuff in java and have it compiled to javascript to avoid having to touch the stuff, microsoft should at least make a competitive c# to javascript compiler if they want developers making serious apps with HTML5.

    • Mark

      If they don’t embrace web developers and other do, what happens to Windows? Frankly, I think this is a wise move. If MS makes Windows a first class platform for those technologies and puts some effort into extending their generally excellent dev tools to make programming in that environment easier, that’s a win. The only concern here is if they abandon .Net and SL, or fail to keep enhancing them. I don’t think they will. At least not .Net.

  • Jim

    Looks nice

  • Alec Lunsford

    I feel like MS is coming out swinging as of late. I wonder if this was planned all these services being tied in right after the DOJ over sight!

  • Igor

    Is this interface just for Kinect?

    • Fludlyt

      No, it will be a complete redesign of the Xbox user interface.

  • Avatar X

    Silverlight has actually been in the Xbox since the NXE was introduced. just that it was just SL2 and the Silverlight Streaming component for Netflix and Zune Video. They now will have the SL3+ (A.K.A 3.5) as known in the WP7 RTM or maybe even the full SL4 as it will be in WP7 Mango.

  • Mark

    Well, whether you like Metro or not, or think it’s better suited for some platforms and not others (tablets vs desktops, for example), at least MS is finally doing *something* to provide consistency across their various efforts.

  • Anonymous

    This UI actually looks better then the Windows 8 one, I hope we’ll be able to name the “blades” in Windows 8 aswell, and change the background color.

  • Anonymous

    I like the old one better…

  • Anonymous

    I like the old one better…

  • Misak Ghazaryan

    as far as first impressions go, it looks good, i wouldnt say better or worse than the previous, but i think the previous was easier to navigate. same goes 4 win 8 looks great for tablets but i have doubts about it for desktops and laptops, i do hope that MS can put those doubts to rest though

  • Boberto

    Surely the ‘Marketplace’ is just this - - and the apps the currently available set (Netflix/Sky/ESPN), is this actually a new feature that has been confirmed as adding anything ?

    The ‘Marketplace’ tile also appears on the promotional images for the ‘Games’ section.

  • Anonymous

    i do hope they have an app marketplace that uses silverlight, it would provide another 55 million potential customers for me!!

    i’m really liking the interface, nice and clean.

  • Eric Malamisura

    As someone who has worked with Javascript for nearly 12 years now I can say it is very painful to use in the same manner that you would an object oriented fashion. It also becomes very difficult to keep your code structured and maintainable. However, it is not difficult to use from a technical standpoint… I would much more prefer Silverlight everywhere however…It is far superior in nearly every aspect when compared to HTML5.

  • Dominic Blakey

    It looks good… I just wonder how the normal xbox 360 controllers will navigate across this interface?