The Xbox 360 Spring Dashboard Update is here, and the most notable update is the inclusion of Windows Live Messenger support on the Xbox 360. There’s also a new blade specifically for the Marketplace, but that’s more of a cosmetic upgrade than anything else.
The biggest change is, in fact, the support of Windows Live Messenger. Gamers can now chat with all their friends on their MSN Messenger friends list, and although “typing” on the Xbox 360 is a total pain, the functionality is pretty neat. In fact, now you can chat via instant messenger with up to 20 contacts in a single conversation, and have up to six different conversations going at the same time with people on PCs, mobile phones and other Xbox 360 consoles. Just remember: if you have that many conversations going at once, you’ll get pretty tired of the Xbox 360 “typing” tools, so you may want to consider connecting a USB keyboard to the console.
With the Spring Update, gamers’ default profile blade includes an icon for “chat,” which includes both video chat and Messenger chat options. Once you select a contact on Messenger, your PC-based profile is signed out and you’re automatically labeled as “on Xbox 360,” at which point you use the same text-messaging tools as leaving a message, but in real-time. And yes, smiley faces come through just fine on the interface.
Other changes included in the Spring Update include:
- On-screen pop-ups that immediately display the name and gamerscore value of a just accomplished Achievement
- The previously mentioned Marketplace blade that houses all Marketplace content in one location
- Various improvements to the Auto Downloads feature
- The ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind video as it is being downloaded
- Increased download speeds, and
- Enhanced family settings