Microsoft revealed its redesigned Xbox.com homepage on Thursday.
My Xbox on Xbox.com has been 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 has also added 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 features spots for Xbox LIVE events, Marketplace previews, new video and game releases and more. There’s also a quick links section 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. Microsoft has also revamped 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 now features 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.
The update to Xbox.com is part of a larger Xbox 360 dashboard update, due to enter beta on Thursday. Codenamed “Madrid”, 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.