Revealed: Xbox 360 User Interface

Behind closed doors on Thursday, Microsoft demonstrated to BetaNews the user interface on its Xbox 360. The Dashboard, which can be customized using themes, offers access to four main panels: System, Games, Media and Xbox Live.

System contains standard configuration options for the Xbox 360, including linking up with network devices and setting parental controls.

The action starts from the Games panel, which displays the user's GamerCard containing their reputation, Gamerscore and Zone. Gamerscore points can be accumulated by playing Xbox games and downloaded arcade games. The Zone is chosen by the user, depending on their style of gameplay.

The Games panel also offers access to already downloaded content such as demos and trailers, as well as listing played games and accomplishments. The primary focus of the Xbox 360, however, is Xbox Live, which has taken center stage.

Xbox Live serves as the center for connectivity on the Xbox 360. The main screen lists messages and contacts, and a link to the Xbox Live Marketplace. The Marketplace is Microsoft's new clearinghouse for selling virtual in-game merchandise, interface themes, and game add-ons such as maps.

Microsoft has not linked its online music store from within the Xbox 360 interface, but has left the option open for future upgrades. The company says it can remotely update the Xbox Live interface as needed.

Eventually, Microsoft plans to offer up gamer profiles and scores to the Web using RSS feeds.

When not gaming, users can load the Media panel to view photo slideshows or listen to music. Content can be stored on PCs networked to the Xbox 360, or viewed directly from a portable player - including Apple's iPod. Microsoft has also developed full screen visualizations that can be manipulated using the Xbox controller.

View the Xbox 360 User Interface Slideshow

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