August 5, 2009

The Xbox 360 Dashboard Update: Why Do We Wait?

Sleebs Says Every year, Microsoft releases an Xbox 360 dashboard update that leave gamers frothing at the mouth. These updates are not one big annual update; sometimes, Microsoft has Spring and Fall updates too. Changes to the layout, marketplace, and technical updates provides many things that gamers crave. The updates have become such the norm that every year, and with much anticipation, the consumer expects a massive change to what they’ve grown accustomed to whether they want it or not. Are such dashboard updates worth losing sleep over? Why do people create a huge hype over them?

People always want to enjoy new things, especially if it allows for a more inviting, accommodating and enjoyable experience. While games are your favorite thing to do on a console, you don’t mind having a nice dashboard to navigate through additional options that may enhance your gaming experience.

On August 11th, Xbox Live will have a very special update to your system that includes new marketplace additions and avatar changes galore, and believe me, they are rather enjoyable add-ons. This time around we’ll be seeing a lot more concrete material for our friendly avatars.

Avatar It – Up
From the introduction of avatars, I felt they were uselessly tacked on, as they didn’t provide any extra value. But I think they’re beginning to settle on the right track. Now, you can purchase special items for your avatars, which are really cool: who doesn’t want their avatar to be playing with an RC Warthog?

The most interesting addition for the avatars that hasn’t been thoroughly explored yet is the Avatar Awards section. So many things could be accomplished through Avatar Awards. For example: I know you Halo 3 gamers out there, who worked so hard getting all the achievements to finally, at last, be able to don a sword on the back of their Spartan. It was a significant moment of pure badassery to roam the Slayer battlefields with your sweet ninja sword. Well, let’s take that step a little bit further and have that sword for something that matters not just with Halo 3, but outside of Halo 3 where friends can notice it no matter what you are doing. That’s right, it would be very award winning and satisfying if your avatar wore that sword outside of Halo 3. Imagine playing a golf game with your party friends and you just so happen to flaunt that sword on your avatar’s back. The possibilities could be endless and it’s a good start with the Avatar Awards.

(Hard) Drive Me Mad
For some time now, the 20GB hard drive has been working well for most people. The only trouble (and outcry) is that Microsoft refuses to accommodate for customizable hard drives, as we’re left in the dust--unless you wish to spend $150 for a 120GB hard drive... With the reveal of Games-on-Demand, the 360 will support downloadable 360 games from Xbox Live. Sounds intriguing, yes? No more product scratches, no more pesky store visits and customer service. Who needs that? W e l l . . . A lot of people still do. And I’m one of them. Digital downloading is, of course, mighty tempting, but there’s also no temptation if my hard drive can only support two fully installed games! However, even in my unlucky position, it’s a good push for digital downloads; the convenience just expounds in many ways.

Update schmupdate?
With some of the key features detailed, the update is pretty exciting and the anticipation grows. But should we really be waiting? Now some may think, “Well, what’s wrong with waiting?” There’s nothing wrong with waiting itself. But with the majority, it seems that causing a huge hype over an update can lead people into major disappointment. After all, it’s just an update and Microsoft does excel at keeping gamers informed. Has the community become too involved with the creation of the system updates? In a way, we are. We are a very spoiled community who loves to be spoiled, with little surprises along the way, which leaves a lot of people feeling underwhelmed about a lot of the progression. But don’t let that be the final word on the development that they’ve created for the Xbox 360 and the Live experience. The experience is made by the community, for the community and the involvement between friends is quite amazing. Looking back now, the creative intertwining of friends, applications, and programs will forever become the core of the entertainment. The dashboard is the desktop for our gaming system.

Gaming is just one feature that we thoroughly enjoy and soon enough, these “game systems” will be called multimedia hubs, as it no longer focuses on the function of the game, but all kinds of multimedia, making a massive box of entertainment. Sounds really compelling to me! So of course, we’ll wait for these updates. With the involvement from Facebook and Last.Fm, two applications that will be available soon, the connectivity between users is what makes Live thrive. Sure, gaming is fun and all that, but this is where we can also sit down and be ourselves in the process, with family and friends. That’s the outstanding attachment and relationship we have for the core of this generations’ dashboard.