Xbox 360 Dashboard Fall Update

Microsoft has dropped a bombshell recently when they announced the different features that were going to be made available with their newest Seasonal patch (the last one was obviously made in Summer).

This free update will be distributed via the Xbox Live online gaming and entertainment network to all members (Xbox Live Silver and Xbox Live Gold) with no disc or hard drive required. Gamers without an Xbox Live account can easily sign up for free by connecting their console to a broadband Internet connection. Once online, downloading the update is fast and simple, and provides instant access to features such as:

Expanded HD Display and Video Playback Options

- With 1080p resolution, gamers now have the ability to enjoy both game and video content in the best HD resolution currently available (featured previously only on the Playstation 3 as far as video game consoles were concerned).

- Expanded video playback options increase the ways gamers can enjoy video content on Xbox 360. It is now possible to stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect.

- Gamers can now play video files from data CDs and DVDs, as well as from storage devices like USB 2.0 flash drives and Xbox 360 Memory Units.

- Xbox 360 will support 50hz HDTV display modes, providing viewers greater choice in how they watch DVD and HD DVD content.

Xbox Live Arcade Enhancements

- Keeping up to date on Xbox Live Arcade games is now even more convenient with the ability to automatically download newly released Xbox Live Arcade trial games. This eliminates the need to manually search for new downloads on Xbox Live Marketplace each time a new game trial is released.

- Fast Enumeration of Games. You'll see the games in your Xbox Live Arcade collection appear almost instantly. Get in and play right away.

- With so many games to choose from, Xbox Live Arcade added new sorting options such as "Recently Played" and "By Category." These enhancements make managing Xbox Live Arcade collections faster and easier than ever.

- A new expanded Friends Leaderboard within Xbox Live Arcade allows gamers to compare themselves directly against their friends and view leaderboard details of their top-10 friends.

- A new expanded Achievements View within Xbox Live Arcade lets gamers view their full Achievement details for their Arcade games including descriptions, icons, allotted Gamerscore and more, right from the Xbox Live Arcade dashboard interface.

- The "Play Now" launch feature has been streamlined. Selecting "Play Now" after downloading a game in Xbox Live Marketplace now bypasses Arcade and takes you directly to the game.

- Xbox Live Arcade now offers a "Tell a Friend" feature. Select this from the game info screen to send any friend on your friends list a message telling them about the Arcade game.

XNA Support

- Amateur game designers will be able to test and play the games they create using XNA Game Studio Express on their Xbox 360 systems when it launches later this year (separate download and subscription required).

These features are just some of the enhancements gamers and developers can expect as part of the Autumn update. For a full list of the features that will be going live tomorrow (October 31st, 2006), check out the website for more information, and be sure to check back at RPGSite for more news as the console wars heat up in the next few weeks.

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