Garrett is as Garrett does

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'Garrett is as Garrett does'

The new Xbox Experience – Can’t I keep the old one?

July 16th, 2008
by garrett

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Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of WIN in the MS dog and pony show, but the Xbox Experience already has major issues. None of these ‘improvements’ benefit me.

Basic Interface

  • Old: Boxes-in-boxes portal with slow response times, an ill-defined selection frame, and a labyrinth maze of scrolling lists.
  • New: Hidden, non-contextual menu items in a low information-density interface used to navigate a labyrinth maze of scrolling lists of pictures.
  • Why? I’m guessing focus groups said the new interface was ‘prettier’ and provided fewer ‘confusing choices.’ It’s also easier/cheaper to copy something that has already been proven/accepted than investing in the research needed to come up with a more useful interface.
  • Net Benefit: Only to those who haven’t used the interface before. With the console starting to hit saturation levels (everyone who wants one has one), this change will the provide the overall user base diminishing returns.

Avatar / GamerPics

  • Old: Static pictures with poor caching, slow response times, but able to see the 100+ GamerTags of your friends / have recently interacted with.
  • New: Dynamic pictures in a graphically bloated interface with only a handful available at a time
  • Why? Sony’s ‘Home’ scared a pitchman somewhere in MS but engineers were able to talk him down to just avatars rather than the whole ‘Second Life’ experience. Also GamerPic sales aren’t hitting target numbers. Solution: quadruple the number of effective GamerPics needed to make an online presence ( Shirt+pants, fashion accessories, hair+make-up, gadgets, etc.) and then monetize the bejeezus out of it.
  • Net Benefit: To MS’s bottom line. Fashion + ‘Tweens with a credit card linked account = KA-CHING! See also: Habbo Hotel, Maple Story, etc.

Xbox Guide

  • Old: Jumbled together mess taking up the left 1/3 of the screen with an excruciating slow response time.
  • New: A higher-information density solution, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY GAME.
  • Why?: A UI designer/team focused to heavily on one task without considering other tasks may be ongoing.
  • Net Benefit: To my opponents. I can’t see the game I’m supposed to be playing when the Guide is up.

In the didn’t go far enough category, I submit a modern web browser can can be coded for a multi-core PPC architecture in under 50MB (Hint: I’m using one right now). Add a very reasonable 450MB cache and you essentially have one Xbox Original game worth of stuff.

This is not going to be fun…

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