Over my cable modem It took about 20 minutes to update to NXE, the New XBox Experience, then another 20 minutes to explore all of the avatar options and create mine. I expect that there’s more to it than what I was able to ‘experience’, but so far it just looks like a new (3D) way to presenting basically the same information.
I’mÂ conflictedÂ on the the new Xbox avatars. They are aÂ blatantÂ rip off of the Wii’s Mii’s with the obvious improvement that these guys have arms and legs. Side note: Every time we break out the Wii to do some bowling, someone asks why their character has “boobs” – but those round things are HANDS! Â Xbox avatars do look much better than a Mii, however, theyÂ are not nearly as cool as, say, a Second Life avatar – which can look like anything.Â In some ways the Xbox customization options feel more limited than even the Wii. In the Wii your Mii might look a bit like a Lego mini-fig, but at least there you can do more with each feature, like raising or lowering eyebrows or making eyes bigger or smaller. In the Xbox you simply pick through a list of features (like hairÂ styles) and a then choose a color. I think this will lead to seeing a lot of avatars that look almost the same – but time will tell. Â I was impressed that they actually had myÂ recedingÂ hairline style and my yellow “vacation” hair color. From the picture you might say that it looks sort of like me, but I didn’t feel like the nose and mouth options did much to get that convincing look.
Parties might be the fun new feature of the NXE. I wasn’t able to join one and therefore don’t really know what they are. I bring them up because I found a problem. Â When you’re in the Friends pane you can browse through each friend and see their avatar. Selecting them takes you in where you can send them messages, etc, and if they are online you can join them in a party. But anytime I jumped into a see a friend’s specs, as soon as I backed out the Xbox would HANG UP – for several minutes. Â I expect this will be worked out soon enough.
I’m extremely curious about the quality of the Netflix rentals. I’ll have to report back on this after I’ve had a chance to check it out.
I only messed around with it for about an hour, so this is based on a ratherÂ briefÂ walk-through. But I have to say that my first impression is that I like the idea but hoped for more. I’m not sure exactly what I expected, but I thought the avatar would be utilized a little more. I think the term “experience” hyped me a little too much about what really amounts to a new user interface.