Giant Bomb on New Xbox LIVE Features

The Giant Bomb crew is at E3, and they have some good news about upcoming Xbox LIVE features.  Some of these are really good news to me.  My comments under the cut.

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- Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive. Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.

This is really good news.  It’s not that the games load slowly (although skate. might be able to benefit from this when trying to execute a complicated combo 30,000 times and loading each time…), but the DVD drive is LOUD.  Anything to alleviate that noise!

- Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.

Since my DSL connection at home is pretty feeble, it will be nice to queue up those downloads for times I’m not using that connection.

- Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it’s not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.

Cool, I guess.  I’m already happy with the in-game options, so I’ll be happy as long as they don’t take anything away!

- LIVE Party system. Create a party of up to eight friends, and stay with them from one game to another, or watch a Netflix movie together, or share a slideshow of your personal photos. It works with all Xbox 360 titles, not just upcoming games. LIVE Party allows up to eight people to chat in the dashboard, so you can meet up before playing.

This is what has me excited.  So far, outside of a game, only two players can chat at a time.  Now, all (three) Xboxing members of Clan Pika can get together and play without all the extra ridiculous planning.

- Xbox LIVE Primetime. This whole new category of games is going to give you more reasons to get online with your friends. Games will support everything you’d expect, like Achievements and leader boards, but many of these games will include real prizes. You can invite your friends, and even set a reminder for an upcoming show. Each game is broadcast simultaneously, so everyone is answering the same questions. Many events will have a live host, calling the shots as they happen.

:/  So, like, pub quizzes at home?  Not feeling it.

- Avatars. Your online identity started as a Gamertag – it then grew into a personalized Gamercard. Now, it has evolved even further into avatars. You can express your style, check out new outfits and share this with the community. Avatars will also be integrated into Xbox LIVE Arcade games, LIVE Party, as well as retail games.

I have no love for my gamerpic (currently the Mach 5), so a new Mii Avatar won’t hurt.

- New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440×900 or 1680×1050.

I’m sure this is great for some dude with a 23″ monitor somewhere!  Not for me, but it can’t hurt.

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