Wednesday, June 3, 2009

E309: Instant On 1080p HD, Ratings Service, Games on Demand, Netflix improvements, Party Sharing

I think I am coming into the home stretch of Xbox news so I am going to jam all of these last little tidbits into this one post. These are all welcome additions to the service.

First up we have Instant on 1080p HD video from the soon to be renamed Video Marketplace (being renamed Zune Video). This will make watching a movie with Cindy (my wife) easier as we do not have to download it first to watch it. I doubt this will make me use the Video Zune Marketplace any more than I do (which is rarely) but it is a welcome feature.

Another very welcome feature is the ability to rate content. It is simple really but now we have a basic review system built into our console experience. I wish there was more to explain or to say about this feature, because that is how excited I am for it, but they, being Microsoft, just slipped it in there, right under the radar.

I can see the future. We will buying the limited collectors edition of Halo 5 on our Xbox 720 direct to the drive and then Microsoft will be mailing us our Recon cat helmet. I say this because Microsoft has announced a games on demand service. Naturally that means we will be able to download our games instead of going to pick them up at the store but does that also mean that there is going to be a rental option for these games? It seems likely and it also seems like it could take some of the wind out of Gamefly and OnLive's socks. Wind out of socks, that's big.

Speaking on rental services, Netflix, for the 360, will be upgraded slightly by adding the ability to add movies to the instant queue through the console experience. Nice.

And finally, they announced a feature that they (Microsoft) told us was coming last year, Party Sharing. Now we will be able to share watching Netflix movies along with Video Zune Marketplace content with up to seven other people in cool sim theater-like experience.

Can anyone think of anything else the Xbox experience needs because I think they have their bases covered in terms of an experience that makes you never want to leave your couch.

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