November 19th: It seemed everyone on Twitter had something to say about the impending New Xbox Experience, so much so that even I was itching to download the Dashboard update. Most people seemed to generally like the overhaul, but the buzz was all about the Avatars. I’d made my feelings on Avatars pretty clear, jumping to the conclusion I’d hate them, therefore NXE, months before it even hit. I’m not normally one to condemn something before I’ve even had a taster; it just seems wrong. But unfortunately my doubt has been somewhat founded, and that stems way beyond the Avatars.
I wasn’t far wrong with how Wii-like the Dashboard update was, with the initial background music and Avatar creation feeling like someone had snuck a Wii into my house. I was in Private Chat with my (also apprehensive) friend while tinkering with the Avatar customization, both surprised at this dramatic new turn the Xbox brand has seemingly taken. Alas, I made my Avatar, spending a little less than a couple of minutes on it, er, her, er, me, seeing as I don’t plan on the Avatar being an integral part of my Xbox experience. I have to say, however, that I did find it amusing flicking through my Friends List, seeing how my mostly anonymous gamer friends look.
That brings me to my next point… The user interface for the friends list. I have 80 friends, some of which are probably going to get axed soon seeing as I don’t know/converse/play with a lot of them. You can’t see everyone who’s online with one glance like you could with the old dashboard (unless you open up the Guide button and do it from there), which doesn’t make much sense to me. And in addition to that, it takes an age to scroll through your Friends List to see who’s online and who’s playing what.
I decided to revisit Video Marketplace in the hope that there was something decent to rent, seeing as UK 360 owners don’t have the fortune of NetFlix. I’ve used Video Marketplace a couple of times before through the old Dashboard interface and never had any problems finding what I wanted. This time, obviously with things laid out considerably different, it took me significantly longer to find out where I could see all of the movies listed – I swear there was a longer click process to get there. Then when I did get there, it encountered an error and refused to show me what was available. So I left, defeated, but with a saving of 250 Microsoft Points :p
So it seems that I’ve yet to find my way around NXE, or that to get to my desired place I have to go a little further. But on the plus side, at least it looks better, right? Well on the most part, yeah, I actually think it does. But I’m definitely not happy that my Viva Pinata theme I purchased is only 50% visible, now partly obscured by the infamous grey blob. Also, is it just me, or is the Theme now only fixated on one image, as opposed to how it used to scroll through different images when you moved from blade to blade?
Anyway, I’m going to quit bitching right there, because there’s nothing more I can do except cringe a little every time a friend’s Avatar blows me a kiss. But seriously, I’ve missed the main point here. My Xbox 360 is, first and foremost, a console. And whether I have 3 male friends in the form of Amy Winehouse Avatars or not, it still does what it does best – enables me to lose myself in a Post Apocalyptic United States.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on NXE, but does yours echo mine or are you 100% satisfied?