The Xbox 360 Dashboard got updated last week and like many I don’t seem to be that impressed. Adding in Apps is obviously a great idea, covering the place with adverts not so great. My biggest concern is down to the design, it seems to be build around Kinect navigation which is obviously Microsoft’s intention. This seems wrong to me, just like the redesigned BBC website appears to have been designed for a swipable touch screen. What happened to designing interfaces to be optimised for the most popular hardware? The thing that surprises me most about the Xbox redesign is how none of the dashboard layouts ever really take advantage of the Xbox controller. There are more ‘slideshow’ panels in the new design which automatically scroll through 4 or 5 different panels, why on Earth can I not scroll these using one right stick or D-pad?
In terms of functionality I haven’t really seen any improvements, this is mostly because I haven’t been a Gold member for quite some time. Nearly all of the new Apps and functionality required Gold membership. Microsoft made a big mistake having a free weekend before the majority of the apps had been released because there was nothing for the non-Gold members to sample for free. I’m really interested in the LoveFilm, Blinkbox and YouTube apps (and the 4OD and BBC ines coming next year) but I’m unsure about paying to use them. Rather annoyingly you are allowed to download the apps before being told they require a Gold membership to use them; thanks for wasting my time and bandwidth Microsoft. It also seems a mistake not being able to view anything in LoveFilm, Blinkbox or YouTube, why not just have some clips up there so I can see the quality of the video and the app’s interface.
No doubt I’ll end up paying for Gold and upgrading my LoveFilm account, neither are really that expensive if I will actually use them which has always been my problem with Gold up until now.