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Xbox Fall Update 2K7

The Xbox 360 "Fall Dashboard Update" is set to hit consoles at 2am PST tomorrow. Among its many features (some of which I've already talked about), the update adds the option to "Tell a Friend" about a game.

Rather than "Friends of Friends" or the option to "Tell a Friend" about Worms or Aegis Wing, I'd like to see - particularly in Xbox Live Arcade games - to see which other friends have the game also. I'm more likely to buy a game if a few friends have it so that I can play with/against them on Xbox Live. Or, rather than not taking a chance on a game, I can ask my friends if it's worth it and buy it if they say it's good.

I've got other ideas as well, like the ability to set up meeting times for games with friends complete with SMS reminders one hour prior to the time of the meeting, but I guess I'll have to wait six months or so until there's even a chance of seeing anything else. What is it with Microsoft and bundling these updates into huge "service pack"-like things? I much prefer the Apple/Nintendo approach of smaller, more frequent updates.

2 Responses to "Xbox Fall Update 2K7"

  1. Microsoft does two Xbox system updates a year, which is actually a pretty frequent release cycle for an operating system.

    There are many reasons they don't release more often, but two are that: every update requires an extensive (and costly) test cycle to make sure it doesn't break any of the hundreds of released games; and, like most embedded systems, the Xbox architecture is somewhat monolithic and difficult to update piecemeal.

    There are a couple of ways to see which of your friends have played which games, although neither is quite as straightforward as a simple list. One way is to look at the leaderboards -- in the Dashboard, select an arcade game, and then look at the leaderboard (or wait for the results to scroll). This requires that you've downloaded (and possibly played?) the arcade game, but doesn't require that you've purchased it. Alternatively, you can go to your friends list, view any gamercard and then choose "compare games" to see what they've played compared against what you've played.

    I doubt you'll ever see SMS integration. However, if your friends have enabled SMS forwarding on their IM accounts, then sending them an IM message from the console should work. Or, you could just text them or call them directly from your phone...

    When I worked on Xbox, I lobbied hard for "gifting". I think it'd be great if I could buy Arcade games (or points) and give them to my friends online. A coworker prototyped Spaces integration, and there were many other social networking ideas under discussion. I doubt any of those ideas will ever materialize in the product.

  2. Michael Brundage said on December 4, 2007:

    Microsoft does two Xbox system updates a year, which is actually a pretty frequent release cycle for an operating system.

    Mac OS X updates are released throughout the year. The same is true of apps like iTunes, iPhoto, etc. They aren't limited to two updates per year. Mac OS X 10.4 is at version 11 with several other updates (security updates, etc.) that didn't affect the version number thrown in as well.

    So it's not without precedent that OS updates come out more frequently than MS likes to issue updates. 🙂

    Michael Brundage said on December 4, 2007:

    There are many reasons they don't release more often, but two are that: every update requires an extensive (and costly) test cycle to make sure it doesn't break any of the hundreds of released games; and, like most embedded systems, the Xbox architecture is somewhat monolithic and difficult to update piecemeal.

    Yes, I figured as much - but that doesn't mean I can't wish otherwise. After all, again, other consoles and OSes update themselves more frequently, and Mac OS X is certainly more complex than the Xbox OS, with more configurations and much more software available.

    As for the rest of your post, thank you for the information. For the most part, I was aware of the work-around or figured as much, but the info will no doubt be useful to others.


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