This week the big 3, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo all deliver what’s coming in the future on their systems.
Some of the biggest news this year came from Microsoft, with an entire refresh of the Xbox 360 interface. This also bring with it new features, Avatars, Party Play and Primetime.
Avatars are 3D personalised characters, similar to Mii’s on the Nintendo Wii, with one difference there’s actually a purpose for having them. Now some may criticise Microsoft for stealing the idea, I’m not so much concerned with that, the idea appears to be taken and improved upon both graphically and functionally. There’s clearly potential for Microsoft to monetise new DLC (clothes/objects) for your Avatar. Currently Xbox Live friends are simply displayed as a text list, with the new Xbox interface, your friends Avatars will actually appear when they’re online.
The real benefit will be in sharing experiences like photo slideshows, videos and best of all will be making the process of teaming up with friends and gaming online a whole lot simpler with up to 8 player Party-Play.
Microsoft are aggressively trying to attract the non-gaming community with a new ‘Primetime’ feature. It offers virtual game-shows, starting with “1 vs. 100” in which your Avatar appears in-game, while you compete against your friends and other players online.
There’s massive changes on the way for Xbox 360 owners, the response online has been generally positive. Personally I’d like to see them focus more on the international rollout of Movies and TV Shows. The new partnership with Netflix is a nice addition for those in the US, however it means nothing to the rest of us around the world.
The update is due in “The Fall” which roughly equates to a few months from now.