US Xbox 360 got some huge news today in Microsoft's new partnership with Netflix, but the Dashboard's got us pretty damned excited, too. We got a chance to sit down with Microsoft, including Shane Kim, VP of Strategy and BizDev for Xbox. Here's what you need to know:
- For now, Netflix will only stream in about-SD resolution.
- As Netflix transitions to HD, Microsoft said it stands to reason that streaming HD to the Xbox should be feasible. (Read: eventual.)
- Netflix will be for Xbox Live Gold members only, so you'll be paying that $50 per year if you want it.
- Netflix video sharing ONLY works with other Netflix / Xbox Live Gold subscribers. You can't share video with a Silver member, or who doesn't subscribe to Netflix.
- Microsoft doesn't seem to have concerns about redundant content between Netflix and XBLM, or Netflix cannibalizing XBLM sales. Makes sense -- if you had content available to rent or stream with Netflix, you probably weren't going to pay to rent it on XBLM anyway.
- "No functionality goes away" in new Dash -- so you won't be missing anything you have now.
- Microsoft's Shane Kim says the company has "no plans to create a [Sony] 'Home'-like environment. ... It's about delivering base functionality at the service level." So it sounds like the avatars won't have a Home-like virtual theme-park to run around in.
- No comment was made about Xbox price drops or how long it will take to get to the all-important $199 price point.
- There will be no increase in your number of Xbox Live friends. Psh.
- Don't like the new Dashboard look or avatars? Sorry, sucka, it's a mandatory update. Hey, at least it's free.
- Microsoft didn't have any comment on what it intends to do about the whole modded controller thing.
- The content Marketplace will be overhauled and revamped to ensure it's easier to navigate and much more scalable for the huge amount of content it's got.