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Thursday, November 20, 2008
my initial impressions of the new xbox dashboard
yesterday xbox introduced the new dashboard. the 2 main aspects of this update that interest me are the creation of avatars and the streaming of netflix watch instantly movies.
while the avatars are a clear ripoff of what nintendo did with the wii, i applaud microsoft for taking a look at competing products, finding what works and then improving upon them and adding it to their videogame experience. you know who does not do this? sony. the ps3 was released a year after the 360, and because of the fact that the ps3 and 360 are very similar machines that market towards the same type of gamer, you would assume that sony would say ok, microsoft has created a very fun online experience that's easy to use. they also have added gamer achievement points which all the nerds love. maybe we should incorporate this into our machine. they did none of this with the year they had and decided to make a shitty online experience combined with no overall gamer scores or achievement system. is america getting revenge on the japanese for taking our cars and making them much better?
nice try sony....but i still don't think you're getting it.
sorry, that was kind of a rambling rant that went nowhere, but it just amazes me that people that are making decisions do so with such stupidity at times. back to the new dashboard. i made my new avatar which i tried to make look like me. the result was a skinny asian guy with hair i used to have 10 years ago. not that i wanted to make my avatar look fat, but i don't think that us huskier guys really get represented well in these types of things. so, unhappy with my avatar, i decided to just be silly and not make him look like me. i gave him bunny teef, a heart on his cheek and johnny bravo hair. his wardrobe was described by louise as that of a competitive equestrian. you can see his face on this blog if you scroll down to my gamer profile. 5 minutes after i created my avatar, ben sent me a message saying how super assy it was. whatever.
i also tested out the netflix service. i am a big fan of netflix in general and was excited to hear about its inclusion in the xbox. setup was a breeze and within 2 minutes i was flipping though my watch instantly queue. this adds a lot of movies to my watch whenever i'm bored library. there are some pretty good titles like no country for old men and seasons of 30 rock. there are also a lot of questionable titles that could be fun to watch. the video quality is ok. it's certainly not hd, which i think is due to my tv's lack of hdmi input. it shows the video in widescreen format, so a slightly blurry picture is acceptable to me. another little nitpick is that you can't add new movies to your queue from your xbox. you have to do it from your computer. there is no limit to how many movies can be on your queue, so i spent the afternoon adding anything i might be remotely interested in seeing. i ended up watching 30 minutes of the day of the dead remake starring mena suvari and ving rhames. it was quite shitty. i thne changed it up for more the family-friendly the gameplan starring the rock. i didn't finish it either, but it was at least sort of enjoyable.
as netflix adds more titles to their watch instantly library, this feature will be used more and more by me. while not perfect, i am happy with how this worked out and i give the efforts my netflix and microsoft a solid b grade. hopefully this helps netflix continue to grow and i can buy their stock starting tomorrow and be along for the ride.
this addition to my home entertainment repertoire also opens up a recurring question/issue for me. am i getting closer to canceling cable? i am already trying to watch less tv and i hate how comcast charges so much money. i currently have a lot of dvd's, netflix one dvd out a time, plus now netflix watch instantly. throw in an hd antenna and maybe a media center pc that will show videos from hulu on my tv and i think i could easily get by. after all of the fees and taxes this could end up saving me at least $80/month. now i just need to convince louise.