• 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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    Comments 12 Comments
    1. EvilBoris's Avatar
      EvilBoris -
      Don't highlight the wasted space too much, they'll put more adverts in!
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      LOL. The truth is funny.
    1. ItsThere's Avatar
      ItsThere -
      Imagine integrated Xbox Surface adverts... No maps for you player, maybe you'd like to buy some Doritos and Mountain Dew instead?
    1. rmoxon's Avatar
      rmoxon -
      The Dashboard gets progressively worse in general with each update.

      These days a typical Xbox gaming session sees me spend more time watching the dashboards swirling loading icon than actually playing a game.

      At this point Im doubtful Microsoft will ever manage to make it worse than it is now, but I'm sure they will try to prove me wrong with another update in a couple of months.
    1. Brad's Avatar
      Brad -
      Pretty disgusting. PS3 start screen is the XMB with the game section pre-selected and the game in the drive highlighted. No adverts and I don't even pay for the service. This sort of stuff winds me up more than it ought to really; to the point that I won't have an Xbox despite wanting to play Halo 4 quite badly. I recently removed almost all of the tiles from my Win 8 start screen because they nearly all take me to something Xbox related or an advert. The future looks pretty crap.
    1. EvilBoris's Avatar
      EvilBoris -
      I genuinely don't see what all the fuss is about with the dash. The Americans have it pretty bad with their constant ads for Lynx and Doritos and whatnot, but we really do get one on each page.

      I genuinely don't see a link to a screenshot gallery to be an advert. And sometimes I do actually quite like it that it is advertising a sale, how am I meant to know it is on otherwise?
      I took more offence to them put the Movies/Music tab before my friend list, so I did have to scroll passed Lady Gaga though, they finally changed that though this time.
    1. Corranga's Avatar
      Corranga -
      Maybe it's a beta for Windows 8 service pack 2
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      Let's look at today's dash.

      Halo 4 main tile (Microsoft...)
      Halo 4 advert tile (bottom right)
      Kinect central (I don't have kinect....)
      November on Gold - ah could be interesting. Click. Oh. Halo 4 advert.
      Most wanted - Click. Forza Horizon Season Pass. I don't have Forza Horizon.
      Men in Black 3 - Buy MIB3 for 1700 points. I've never bought a film on Xbox Video and doubt I ever will. Netflix has enough to keep me happy.

      How could MS make this stuff useful? They could be like netflix or last.fm or every other modern application and incorporate a "like" / "not interested" feature. Then at least I might get some stuff that is relevant to me.
    1. EvilBoris's Avatar
      EvilBoris -
      The game recommendations on the following page does have that ability.
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      Ah cool. I see that now. You have to press X or select them. Righty. Never got further than just looking at the recommends list.

      Although quite why it's recommending me Deadly Premonition when it's already in my library is anyone's guess. Apparantly it's because I bought Sine Mora! They should have asked me to design it etc etc
    1. EvilBoris's Avatar
      EvilBoris -
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      You forgot to logout to see the actual adverts.

      Although here, the ads go away when you sign up. On the Xbox dash, the appear when you sign up.
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