Many of you have been involved in the 2012 Xbox LIVE Update Public Beta and have been busy getting an early look at the latest Xbox LIVE features. Today we’re starting to roll out the official release of the update to Xbox LIVE subscribers around the world. To ensure a stable release, this will be a gradual deployment across subscribers and regions over the course of the next week. Our initial deployment will reach approximately three million consoles worldwide, with additional users being updated over the course of a couple weeks. Don’t panic if you don’t see an immediate update, just keep checking back in.
In this update, you will see the following features.
Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We’ve updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.
Internet Explorer for Xbox. With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.
Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, generated based on a number of variables including the content you previously viewed, what your friends are consuming and what is most relevant and popular with our Xbox community. You can now rate content yourself and also see Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
Pinning. Pinning lets you personalize the dashboard by saving your favorite movies, TV shows, games, music, videos and websites right to the home screen. It’s as easy as opening an app or a favorite movie and clicking “pin.”
Xbox Video. Formerly called Zune Video Marketplace, Xbox Video offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.
Recent. Previously called Quick Play, the Recent view gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.
Enhanced Search. The last Xbox LIVE update brought Bing voice search to Xbox so you could use voice to search for movies, TV shows, actors, directors and artists. This year we added genre search to the list, so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi. Bing voice search now includes results for video across the Web, including YouTube.
International Expansion of Voice Search. We’ve expanded our Kinect voice search capabilities to 9 new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.
What about Xbox SmartGlass? That’s coming too, but not until Windows 8 launches on October 26th. When the Xbox SmartGlass app launches on tablets, PCs and smartphones, it will include key foundational experiences for interacting with your Xbox 360, such as dashboard and app navigation and Internet Explorer control, like text input, scrolling and pinch and zoom.
Yesterday, we shared all the details about Xbox Music, our brand new digital music service. Xbox Music begins rolling out today on Xbox 360, it will launch with free streaming on all Windows 8 PCs and tablets on October 26th and Windows Phone 8 as devices arrive in market. Xbox Music combines all the different ways people love to enjoy music, creating the ultimate all-in-one music service.
For all the details on Xbox Music, check out the Microsoft News Center.
The 2012 Xbox LIVE update is beginning its rollout today and we expect all Xbox LIVE subscribers to have access to the update in the coming days.
Xbox 360, Xbox Live By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson