Microsoft has started to distribute its Xbox Spring 2011 dashboard update.
The update will make its way to Xbox owners over the course of the next two weeks. Microsoft is distributing the update in six waves in order to ensure a high quality deployment. “Just like any other update to our service, you will know you’ve received it when you turn on your Xbox 360 console, connect to Xbox LIVE and receive a notification to download the update,” says Microsoft’s MajorNelson. Xbox owners should expect to see the update notification between May 19 and May 30. The Spring 2011 dashboard update includes the following:
- International PayPal support – Gamers can now use PayPal to buy content such as Microsoft Points, Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions and Games on Demand titles. The functionality will not be available in the following regions: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan.
- Auto-standby feature – Console will be placed on standby if it’s idle for more than one hour, helping to reduce power consumption. This feature will be automatically enabled after you download the update. You can change this setting in the System Settings on your console.
Microsoft’s previous dashboard update in January locked out a number of console pirates from its Xbox LIVE service. The company blocked some popular flashed firmware disc drive modifications with the update. Pirates typically flash their DVD drives with modified firmware to bypass Microsoft’s game security checks.”Anti-piracy 2.5″ is the software giant’s latest attempt to thwart console pirates. It’s not yet clear whether the Spring 2011 has enhanced this protection any further.
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited update is Avatar Kinect. Microsoft is expected to release Avatar Kinect on May 27. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer originally introduced Avatar Kinect using his own Xbox LIVE avatar at CES earlier this year. Avatar Kinect is a unique way for Kinect users to interact with each other. Kinect supports facial tracking and even facial expressions that will allow users to talk to each other with their avatars. Microsoft is calling Avatar Kinect a “social experience” that will bring your avatar to life.
The software giant is providing over 15 different stages for users to pick from and use Avatar Kinect. The stages range from kids themed stages to performance and broadcast stages. Avatar Kinect tracks users mouths and eyebrows to animate their avatars live on the screen. Avatar Kinect will allow users to join sessions and chat with each other to create shows that can later be uploaded and shared with others.