LOS ANGELES — This fall, instead of saying “What’s on TV?,” players can turn to their Xboxes and see what is on Xbox Live.

Microsoft is introducing, for the first time, an entirely new interface for the Xbox 360, and are making some serious additions.

“[We are going to be] greeted by entirely new interface and dashboard,” said John Schappert, corporate Vice President of Xbox Live software and services. “[We are] creating a brand new Xbox through the magic of software.”

The new interface is a cross of all the best qualities from the PS3 and Wii. The layout is a lot like the PS3’s, with various screens like “My Xbox, “Games,” and “Community,” plus new ones like “Movies” and “Primetime”. There is a new avatar system, where players can create a representation of themselves to represent their own personality and style. At first glance, it seemed like the design opportunities for Xbox avatars stretch a lot farther than those for the Wii.

“The thing about avatars, they do more than sit in your living room,” said Schappert. “[With them, you can] create, share and have fun with all of your friends.”

Your “living room” is your personal Xbox page which contains your downloads, current games and achievements. It is the opportunity to move beyond your “living room” that makes the new interface so interesting. Up to eight friends can create their own “Live Party” so that they can chat and interact with each other. Each player’s avatar is what represents them in the “Party.” Through this private channel, the players can share photos, movies, or just chat with each other.

“This generation of consoles will change the face of home entertainment more than any before it,” said Schappert. “The biggest, most revolutionary changes will happen online as more and more people control each other and the games and entertain they want.”

One of the biggest changes is the addition of Xbox Live Primetime, a channel which allows hundreds of people to star in their own game shows due to a new partnership with Endemall, creators of shows like 1 vs. 100, Deal or No Deal, Big Brother and Fear Factor.

Endemall’s 1 vs. 100 is coming as a playable game show to Live Primetime this fall. Players can choose to be the “one”, a part of the “100”, or an audience member in the game. Winners in Primetime are able to win real prizes as well.

“It combines the best of television with the best of games to deliver a new experience for the whole family,” said Schappert.

About The Author

Terri Schwartz was a Blast Contributing Editor from 2008-2009.

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