"Why does this work in Wal-mart" Marc Whitten asked, rhetorically. He's the General Manager for Xbox LIVE and the guy in charge of the new Xbox 360 dashboard system known as The New Xbox Experience. "Visual is a better way of exploring...you're actually good at discerning things visually." And if such is the case, it makes sense why Microsoft has ditched the endless lines of icons and text in their Xbox 360 setup, opting for a minimal experience not so different from Apple's Front Row.
The current Xbox 360 dash (the blade version) has a problem. While there is plenty of functionality under the hood, the development team can't simply add a new blade any time they wanted to bring new content. Meanwhile, Xbox LIVE hopes to bring users more dynamic content on a daily basis. Something had to give, so Microsoft ditched their dashboard.
"There's no reason we have to decide what we did originally was the right thing," Whitten explains.
Under the new dash, a simple list including categories like "Games" and "Video" will be malleable at any time without a firmware update. And, hopefully, users will also have an easier time discovering features like iPod support with larger, prettier icons and a simpler layout.
And so far, it's all looking pretty good—and very different from Sony's XMB, an interface that we're pretty fond of as well. So what's the one thing Whitten would change about Sony's system?
"I'd ask why some icons are 3D and colorful and others are 2D and dull."