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Xbox Live fall 2011 Dashboard update video walkthrough and impressions

Xbox Live fall 2011 Dashboard update video walkthrough and impressions


You can now finally give natural voice commands — "play Modern Warfare 3" instead of "play disc"

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With the new Xbox Live dashboard update rolling out this week, we thought it'd be fun to make a video walkthrough to showcase some of the new features you'll be using December 6th: a new Metro UI feel (à la Windows Phone, Windows 8, and the now-defunct Kinect Hub), Bing voice search, "Beacons" for finding multiplayer friends, and the 511MB of cloud storage you can enable... which by the way, only seems to work with new save files and nothing that was saved prior to the update. Bummer.

Overall, the new UI is a refreshing and much-needed update to 2008's New Xbox Experience, itself the first major revision after its "Blades" interface from launch. Menu navigation is much quicker, the voice search overall picked up what we were saying, and as a bonus it now has more natural language input — you can now say "play Modern Warfare 3" as opposed to "play disc," for example. It wasn't flawless, of course, but it makes a stronger case for Kinect's microphone capabilities. The "hover hand" to wave open apps is still there, and yes, it's still painful to the point of uselessness. Hey, at least it's fun with The Gunstringer.

In addition to the new dashboard, a refreshed Netflix app is coming this Tuesday, among a number of other content partners not named Verizon, YouTube, or Comcast (all of which are missing launch week). The Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone, too, is due out December 6th — we'll have updated impressions as soon as that arrives. In the meantime, check out the video below!