Xbox LIVE update announced for next week

Microsoft sent an email to all Xbox LIVE customers today to announce the date for the next major update to the Xbox LIVE service. This much-hyped and long-awaited update will be rolled-out next week -- on Tuesday, 11 August.

The biggest new feature that will be available to Xbox gamers from next week is "Games On Demand". At long last, Xbox users will be able to download games directly to the console, saving a journey to the gaming shop. Some content, including music tracks and videos, movies, and game trial-versions, were already available on-demand. Big improvements are in the pipeline to the quantity and variety of content available, along with changes in the ways in which content can be delivered or consumed, e.g. movie parties.

On-demand game downloads may not be good news for the high-street retail market. I console myself with the green argument -- reductions in manufacturing and distribution, as well as journeys to and from the shop, will yield substantial environmental benefits.

This is the beginning of an exciting new phase in the interactive entertainment industry, driven by the development and deployment of a wide range of new features and services, by Microsoft and other companies, some of which were unveiled or hinted at earlier in the year at E3 2009.

Here's a summary of some of the new features coming to Xbox LIVE next week:-

Games On Demand
You can now download full Xbox 360 games over Xbox LIVE. You can buy games using Microsoft Points or credit card and download them directly to your console hard drive.* No physical disc is required to play these games

Avatar Marketplace
Reflect your sense of style with the new Avatar Marketplace. Download and buy premium items, including branded clothing from fashion labels and Xbox 360 games. You can also now equip your avatar with animated items to carry around and interact with.

User Ratings
Rate any game content on Xbox LIVE. Plus, sort by rating to find games, demos, trailers and more that have received top ratings.

Xbox Live Parties
Invite your friends to an Xbox LIVE Party more easily than ever before, and automatically reconnect if you get disconnected from a party.

08 August 2009

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