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.
Xbox Dashboard / Guide and Live
"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.