Well, people, a new day is upon Xbox 360 owners. Taking cues from both Nintendo and Sony, the Xbox 360 is lined up to make its console the best it can possibly be by “stealing everyone else’s ideas” (as fanboys would call it, not that it matters since the Wii desperately needs to rip off Xbox Live before you can even take a Nintendo game with online support seriously), with a series of announcements at the Microsoft summit about new features that will be made available on the Xbox 360 this Fall.
The Wii’s “Mii” system is actually stunningly inventive when you think about it. Customizable little people you can actually make look like you and use in games. Awesome, no? Well, Microsoft is taking this and adding a twist in their “Avatar” system. Avatars will be similar to Miis, but will be much more customizable and significantly less useful. While Miis could be imported into games like Wii Sports and Mario Kart Wii, there doesn’t seem to be much use for Avatars. Granted, Uno Rush is looking to be Uno…with Avatars, but Microsoft is predominantly emphasizing non-game features like sharing pictures, watching movies (shared over Netflix, which is possibly the most tantalizing part of E3 for the 360 so far) and hanging out in the virtual world. It’s certainly not a bad thing that Microsoft is adding this. But it just doesn’t seem like there’s much of a point.
Pointing out the PS3’s statistical dominance (in terms of technical power) to a Sony hater will quickly draw the response “yeah, but it’s got that stupid loading thing where you have to wait twenty minutes before you play DMC4 or have to wait five minutes after every three hours of MGS4, LOL.” While the PS3 has been chastised for it, the 360 is looking to copy it, in a way, with their new play-from-hard drive option. When you’re running your copy of MGS4, you don’t hear any sort of droning, do you? Well, the Xbox 360 is going to give you the option to install data from your individual 360 games, a la the PS3, which will cut down load times, keep your disk from getting damaged, and lower your chances of getting those damnable “disk can not be read” errors that make people like me lose an uncountable amount of time in lost progress. This will immediately actually make for some sort of use for all those sixty-gig 360 hard drives people bought.
While people who spell Microsoft “M$” will rail on the company for “copying,” both of these additions will make the Xbox 360 a significantly better console, which is something I'm really looking forward to.
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