Xbox 360 owners have been given over 125 improved features in a major upgrade which has been launched by Microsoft today, with the free update automatically installing to the internal flash memory of the Xbox 360 as soon as it connects to Xbox Live.


Xbox 360 dashboard


Highlight of the new features includes the ability to queue up downloads and leave them downloading in the background whilst continuing to browse the rest of the Xbox Live Marketplace or using features the DVD playback or playing offline Xbox Live Arcade titles. Downloads will automatically pause if multiplayer online play takes place, ensuring that lag isn't introduced in to games.

Booting straight to the Dashboard even with a game or DVD in your 360's drive is another welcome upgrade to the Xbox 360's operating system, meaning you won't need to remove discs from the drive between gaming sessions, whilst improved video playback will keep couch-potatoes happy now that 2x to 16x speed fast-forward and rewind is being introduced to game trailers and other downloadable video content.


Xbox 360 dashboard

Xbox 360 dashboard


Whilst many of the exhaustive list of upgrades will probably never been noticed by most gamers, Microsoft claim that the improvements have all been based on user feedback since the launch of the console late last year, with useful additions such as online status being automatically set to "away" when the idle screensaver is activated, and improved navigation of the categories in the Marketplace.

Microsoft are thought to be planning a major upgrade on this scale to be available every six months during the life of the Xbox 360, with work said to already be underway on the next upgrade which is due sometime before Christmas, along with extra backwards compatibility support and smaller upgrades due during the intervening months.

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