Microsoft has officially detailed the new features and capabilities it plans to unleash on Xbox 360 users with its Fall Dashboard Update beginning at 2 AM Pacific Time, December 4. Chief among the new goodies: the Xbox Originals and Xbox Live Arcate Hits download-to-own services, news feeds, expanded profiles, new video features, and improved parental controls.
First of all, the Dashboard update will bring two new download options. Announced back on November 13, Xbox Originals will enable Xbox 360 owner to grab download-to-own versions of games developed for Microsoft’s original Xbox console, including titles like Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex,Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge,Psychonauts, and the original Halo. Xbox Originals will features games at a fixed price of 1,200 Microsoft points—that translated to $15 U.S.—and Microsoft is promising to expand the catalog of available games over time. Also online will be Xbox live Arcade Hits, which will offer reduced prices on selected popular arcade titles like Bankshot Billiards 2 and Marble Blast Ultra. Free trial downloads will be available, and Arcade Hits Prices will range from 400 to 800 Microsoft points.
On the social side, the Fall Dashboard Update will offer expanded access to users’ friends lists, enabling gamer to see the Friends Lists of other Xbox Live Members. If you ever wanted to hit up a friend-of-a-friend for a friendly game of arena combat, this might be your opportunity, although the feature has raised some privacy concerns amongst online gamers. Members will also be able to add more details to their online profiles with an expanded bio.
The Dashboard update will also include new parental controls that will enable parents to set the total amount of time an Xbox 360 can be used on a per-week or per-day basis, a news feed that delivers Xbox information to a consistent location, expanded descriptions and visuals in the video library, and new video codec support (along with full screen movie previews).