A new design for Xbox Live has been in the works for quite a while. Xbox Live, the online community for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, is the most popular online forum for gamers around the world. Over 1 million people log on to Xbox Live daily to kill each other with rocket launches in Halo 3, help each other find orbs in Fable 2, or gather gamer points in Mirrors Edge. So, when a new interface was annouced a number of Xbox Live users, including myself, were skeptical. Why change the interface of a system that is already widely popular?
On November 19, the new interface was introduced. Along with millions of other users, I downloaded the interface update on the fated day. I was mildly suprised when I saw the final outcome. Instead of an updated version of the old Xbox interface, the new interface reminded me of a modernized version of a different console: The Nintendo Wii. The Wii interface features an interactive scrolling system through popular games; the new Xbox interface included this feature, but with a 3D twist. Another popular Wii feature are the Mii’s, little virtual people you can create that have their own community on the Wii interface. The new Xbox interface featured a similar virtual creation known as Avatars, which look like an updated version of the Nintendo Mii’s.
Now, as an Xbox 360 user who does not own a Wii, I was happy with the new update. I loved the new scrolling design, which made it easier to find friends and gamer points. I also enjoyed making my virtual avatar. Quite a few other users agreed with me as well. However, the interface also got a few negative reviews from users of the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, or both consoles. A number of video game critics have accused Microsoft of stealing directly from the Wii interface.
So when it comes down to it, is the new Xbox interface a good public relations move or bad public relations move? Even though there are uncanny similarities between the two interfaces, I feel that the decision was a good one in the long run. In the beginning there will be some bad press and controversy, but in the end I think most of the public will accept and learn to enjoy the new interface. As a video game enthusiast I am interested in what other think about it . So now my final question: What are your thoughts on the new interface?