Microsoft XBE: No We Say!

One of my friends gave me a video on my USB stick, and I popped it in my (now returned and repaired) XBox 360 to have a look at it. It was a Monday night and a warning message popped up telling me that in order to watch it I had to download an update.

I was aware of a massive new XBox Live update that night, and I thought I might as well go along with it so that I could watch the video. This is the update that allows you to copy games onto your hard disk.

I regretted it later obviously, when I had to watch an awful pseudo-artsy video of… something. I’m not entirely clear what it was trying to convey but it was pretentious. Here’s a youtube link. Whatever, I ignored my instincts and pressed on. Until I got to the “Choose an Avatar” screen.

No thanks. They all looked awful, cutesy and anorexic. I pressed the “B” button to go past it.

Are you sure you don’t want to select an avatar?”

Yes, quite sure thanks, I want to watch my video.

Then I was taken to the new interface. Not only is the bottom two fifths of my background taken up with a horrible lime green… what is it supposed to be anyway? But in order to look at a friend on my list I have to scroll through every single friend I have. Wonderful. Microsoft have tried to take two aspects of their competitors’ work and have mashed them together and the effect is horrible. The whole interface is difficult, unintuitive, ugly, and just plain unnecessary. And the worst part is that it’s mandatory.

But at least I don’t have to choose an avatar, right?

Wrong! Last week Microsoft made it impossible to sign into XBox Live without selecting an avatar. Why?

Why do I need to have selected a cutesy and stupid looking avatar in order to play games online?

Why can I not select the interface that I preferred?

Why is this new attempt to appeal to younger players being forced on the older ones without them having a choice?

Who made this decision, and who thought that it was a good idea to force it on gamers who don’t want it?

- John

It’s just plain wrong.

About John

INX's resident professional games designer!
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One Response to Microsoft XBE: No We Say!

  1. Carl says:

    The idea of the avatars is that you select one that you want to use as a base (or template as it were) then you can customise it to your liking (and make it look as fat and non-anorexic as you like!). Even so, the avatars don’t play a main feature on the 360, so if you don’t like the idea of them, just choose one and you never have to worry about it again. I’m not a particular fan of the avatars (I think the idea has been ripped from the Wii) but they are hardly obtrusive.

    Personally I much prefer the new dashboard to the older one – I think it looks more modern. Usability wise, it means a far better management and layout of content (plus room for additional new features that the old dashboard did not allow for nor have space for).

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