updated 09:35 pm EST, Tue November 18, 2008
New Xbox Experience
Microsoft is set to launch its New Xbox Experience, beginning Wednesday. The update pushes beyond the standard-definition video stream and into the realm of the next-generation Netflix HD. Users will initially have access to 300 movie and TV show titles, with more to be added in the future. Although a Netflix subscription and Xbox Live Gold member ship are both required for the HD content, the system diverges from competitors by allowing unlimited streaming instead of charging for each viewing.
The new interface offers a simpler panel interface and new customizable avatars to display users in the friends list and certain games. A LIVE Party function can be used to virtually host up to seven friends for voice chat, game play, and photo sharing. A community games channel allows users to play games that have been created by private individuals.
New games will also be launched, including "You're in the Movies" and "Lips". The latter transports the gamer into a cinema environment featuring humorous improvisations. The use of the LIVE Vision camera records the players and integrates them into the finished product. Lips is a singing game that offers songs from a wide range of genres, along with wireless, motion-sensitive mics.