Xbox 360 Advert Page (Dashboard) Rant
In Q4 2012, Microsoft rolled out a new Dashboard for the Xbox 360. The first thing to notice after signing in (once it eventually loads) is that the Dashboard homepage is now a giant advertising hoarding. Microsoft claims only the small tile in the bottom right hand corner is an advertisement and the rest are "recommendations". I have no idea if this is true, but a recommendation to buy Battlefield Premium was pretty much useless since I already have Battlefield Premium.
Occassionally there are things that almost interest me or remind me something is out, but thus far I have not seen a single thing that I've actually wanted to click on. Therefore, for me at least, it's a giant waste of space.
The second thing you might notice if you look really hard is a small "play game / dvd" tile in the top left hand corner to fire up whatever disc is in the drive already. Fortunately this is pre-selected so you just have to hit A if you want to play a game (which is fundamentally the reason we have an Xbox right? Or perhaps I'm delusional).
The next thing you might see is a "Pins" tile. Pins sounded amazing, with everyone expecting the ability to customise your home screen with areas of the dashboard and apps that you check regularly e.g. add a Pin to "Demos List" or "Netflix" etc. Unfortunately you can only pin particular apps / demoes so a quick link to the list of demoes isn't possible. Useless. Rendering pins even more useless is the fact that you have to actually click the Pins tile to see any of them and after clicking, the swirling "loading" symbol appears for a while. The Beta forums were awash with thousands of people expressing their same disappointment about the total uselessness of the Pins in their current form, but it fell on deaf ears.
The final thing of note is the "Recent" tile, which is great - it's instant and useful, although quite why it couldn't have just had it's own area in the wasted space at the bottom of the home screen is beyond me (or put the adverts there and put the recent list right in the middle!)
I was prepared to let all this slide, but then yesterday when logging in I was greeted by just 4 tiles: "Play game", "Pins" and "Recent on the left as usual and one GIANT advert tile for Halo4 covering the rest of the dashboard. Unfortunately, this morning it is gone again and I forgot to take a picture but I've mocked it up below. Imagine this, but with review scores plastered all over it:
My guess is that no one will click the advert tiles, no one will use the Pins and everyone will be wondering how Microsoft messed up so badly with this update, especially when every other modern user interface including windows phones are moving towards amazing customisable home screens. As a long time fan of the Xbox 360, I find myself wondering about the long term objectives Microsoft have for the next Xbox and I'm not having a warm fuzzy feeling right now.
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