Microsoft has released a new update for the Xbox 360 today. The update contains many new features such as the addition of Internet Explorer, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, improved search, and new personalisation options, among others. The update is set to hit three million consoles worldwide today and everyone else is set to get it within the next two weeks, according to Eurogamer.
Perhaps the biggest feature in the new dashboard update for the Xbox 360 other than Internet Explorer is the inclusion of Xbox Music. Microsoft had officially taken the wraps off its latest attempt at a music service yesterday. Xbox Music shows that the company is focusing on the Xbox 360 as more than just a gaming machine; the company looks at the console as an entertainment machine. This can be seen through the inclusion of many apps over the years, such as Netflix, Facebook and ESPN, among others.
The Xbox 360 dashboard update has added Internet Explorer (Image Credit: Eurogamer)
The company seems to have realised recently that music is just as important as any of those things for consumers. During the launch, Xbox Music general manager Jerry Johnson said, "We also realize, as an entertainment company, that music is an important ingredient on its own and as a part of different user experiences."
This would be Microsoft’s second attempt at creating a music channel, the first being the not-very-successful Zune. This time, the company is focusing on integrating the service into as many of its devices as it can. While starting with the Xbox 360, the company plans to integrate the service into other devices that would be running Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 through its SkyDrive cloud service.
Microsoft's Xbox Music aims to compete with the likes of Spotify by giving the capabilities to stream music, and have a free as well as a paid account. The main attraction of the service would be the inclusion of a download-to-own music store. The store will include over 30 million songs in its catalogue, rivalling, and surpassing the catalogue on Apple’s iTunes. The service is also all set to have over 70,000 music videos, but these music videos will only be available for the Xbox 360.
The inclusion of Internet Explorer into the console opens up new options for things to do on the console. Users can now browse any website they want through the web browser. Microsoft has also included safety and privacy settings, in case parents don't want their children to view objectionable content on the console's web browser.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that while Microsoft has included the option to buy online content for the Xbox 360 through Windows 8 with real currency, the Microsoft Points system is here to stay.
Microsoft seems to be splitting the stores between Windows 8 and Xbox Live in a strange way -- by giving users the ability to use actual currency on Windows 8, but forcing them to use Microsoft Points for making the same purchases on the Xbox 360. Users trying to make purchases on the Xbox 360 store will have to use Windows 8 to be able to transact in the local currency.
Microsoft Points have been controversial as the system never allowed users to buy only the exact number of points required. They can only buy the points in sets of 400, 800, etc. This could prove to be annoying with things costing, say 200 points. Users have 200 points to spare, and they feel as if they have been compelled to buy more points that they needed.