According to some leaked screenshots, it appears that Microsoft might be preparing a cosmetic revamp of the Xbox 360's Dashboard in their upcoming Fall update this November.
As some might remember, Microsoft had already announced earlier that this update, among other things, would implement the new Family Center, which would allow a family to buy only one Xbox Live Gold account instead of having to buy individual ones.
The leaked screenshots appear to have a Metro-like appeal to them, the codename being the new UI scheme that the latest version of the Zune hardware and PC application are using, as well as the upcoming Windows Phone 7. The tiles appear to be done horizontally now, instead of the skewed angular perspective the current dashboard uses. The menu fonts, as well as some of the other fonts in the screenshots, appear to be thinner and the colors are more neutral than the heavy hues currently used.
As of yet, Microsoft has yet to comment on the leak, but the screenshots do match previous released screenshots of the Family Center from the company, so this is likely the real deal.
The man, the myth, the legend, OZZY will be on Guitar Hero World Tour:
After performing in countless sold-out arenas and amphitheaters throughout the world, rock's defining frontman Ozzy Osbourne – who has sold over 100 million records worldwide in his four decade career – will be playing to a new audience this fall as he makes his videogame debut in Activision Publishing, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) Guitar Hero World Tour.
Budding rockstars around the world will have the opportunity to live out their ultimate fantasy on the virtual OZZFest stage, playing as Ozzy, or alongside him, as he wails to iconic rock track "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley," both from his quintuple platinum debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz. OZZFest, now it its 13th year, has also been created digitally as an in-game venue exclusively for Guitar Hero World Tour to host the heavy metal rock legend.
Joining Ozzy in Guitar Hero World Tour as a playable character is his lead axe-shredder and founder of Black Label Society, Zakk Wylde, performing their hit track "Stillborn."
In addition to Metallica releasing their highly anticipated Death Magnetic album in its entirety as downloadable content in both Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Guitar Hero World Tour, the 2008 OZZFest performers and GRAMMY winning recording artists will be appearing for their on-disc encore with "Trapped Under Ice." Finally, taking the Guitar Hero stage for the first time is fellow OZZFest artist, System of a Down with their 2006 GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance winning single "B.Y.O.B."
When the house lights go down this fall, a new generation of guitarists, drummers and fearless frontmen will come together and rock with Guitar Hero World Tour. The latest installment in the #1 best-selling video game franchise of 2007, Guitar Hero World Tour transforms music gaming by expanding Guitar Hero's signature guitar gameplay into a cooperative band experience that combines the most advanced wireless instruments with new revolutionary online* and offline gameplay modes including Band Career and 8-player "Battle of the Bands," which allows two full bands to compete head-to-head online for the first time ever. The game features a slick newly redesigned guitar controller, drum kit controller and a microphone, as well as an innovative Music Studio music creator that lets players compose, record, edit and share their own rock 'n' roll anthems. Music creators will also be able to share their recordings with their friends online through GHTunesSM where other gamers can download and play an endless supply of unique creations.
Guitar Hero World Tour is being developed by Neversoft Entertainment for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. The Wii™ version is being developed by Vicarious Visions. The PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system version is being developed by Budcat. The game is rated "T" for Teen by the ESRB. For more information on Guitar Hero World Tour, please visit www.guitarhero.com.
What takes 4.7 million lines of code, partner teams from all over Microsoft, and millions of dollars to create? The Xbox 360 system software? Nope. This is just the HD DVD player.
The Xbox platform team (us) is experiencing its own emergence day as of late; we've been hard at work for the past 8 months straight bringing the fall system update to fruition. I haven't even posted since August. Daryl's already gone over a lot of the features and changes that are in this release. I've personally been working on the Xbox 360 HD DVD player (which, by the way, reached the #1 best seller slot on Amazon.com's video games category) and I thought I'd go over some of the technical difficulties it takes to bring HD DVD to market.
There's a perception that HD DVD is just DVD with HD content, but once you look at things more closely, it's clear that HD DVD is a different beast altogether. The Xbox platform team became serious about HD DVD last year, when Microsoft as a company threw its endorsement behind the standard.
The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, for the most part, is an entirely software based implementation. Other players on the market have specialized chips (called DSPs) that decode things like H.264, MPEG, VC1, DTS, Dolby Digital, and other codecs. Much like how backwards compatibility for Xbox 1 works on Xbox 360, the heavy parts of HD DVD are all done on Xbox 360's triple-core CPU.
Microsoft’s COO has reiterated that the software giant “believes” in the gaming space, even though the Xbox 360 continues to be a money-losing business—after all, “it took seven, eight, or nine years before Windows was profitable.”
Since Microsoft entered the console market in 2001, the Xbox strategy has been one of heavy investment, leading to significant losses in its home and entertainment division.
The losses are clear in recent financial reports. For fiscal year 2005, Microsoft’s game division posted a $485 million net loss. In fiscal 2006, ended June 30, 2006, the division lost $1.26 billion.
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner (pictured) told San Jose Mercury News journalist Dean Takahashi that the heavy losses are all part of making Microsoft an increasingly viable player in the games space.