Tweak It: Xbox 360 NXE

It was little surprise that many of you had plenty to say about the PSN Store last week. Being the place you go to spend your money we had hoped you would have strong opinions about it. Here are some choice picks from all your suggestions:

  • “Make it faster” was by far the most common tweak, especially regarding the curious delay when going ‘back’ to a list having started a download which leaves you unable to do anything for several seconds. ~ beeje13, TheShepanator, Kennykazey, shields_t
  • “Categorised download list” or a store page that organises all your previous purchases and downloads better than the simple historical list Sony currently provide. ~ ron_mcphatty, Mason_Mk, mcwildcard
  • “A wishlist” as much as a reminder for ourselves that we wanted to purchase something as for anything else.  Failing that at least let us save our baskets. ~ FluBBa
  • “Pre-patch older games” that are on the store so that having just purchased and downloaded a game you do not then have to sit through a patch download and install before you can play it. ~ DirtyHabit

Having looked at what might be improved on the PS3’s XMB and the PSN Store over the last couple of weeks it is an approriate time to turn our attention to an interface that combines the two; the Xbox 360’s NXE.

Microsoft re-styled the Xbox 360’s UI back in 2008 replacing the original ‘blades’ with the ‘New Xbox Experience’ (NXE). Criticised by some for seemingly being strongly influenced by the PS3’s XMB (NXE is also essentially two-dimensional navigation, but with its main axis vertical, not horizontal) the arrival of the new UI brought with it a host of new features, such as:

  • Avatars
  • Quick Launch Bar (the small, fast, text-based UI displayed by pressing the controller’s Xbox button)
  • Party system
  • Full game installs

It was broadly regarded as a success and welcomed by most who could find at least something in it that improved on what had gone before. If there was one common theme amongst most of the criticism it did receive it was directed at the large graphical slabs of advertising that were now very much more ‘in your face’ than the banner-type advertising in the original ‘blades’ UI had been.

Kudos has to be given the the NXE’s engineers as despite those graphical slabs which change on a regular basis, it still manages to flip through the sections without ever needing to show me a spinning ‘icon loading’ graphic for a small icon that has not changed, unlike a certain competitors console UI.

We know that some changes are coming within the next month or so but we still want to hear how you would change the NXE. Here are a couple to get you started:

  • The My Xbox section should have the focus at start-up. Currently the NXE starts-up with the focus on the Spotlight section showing the latest offers on the Marketplace and new game releases.
  • The My Friends section should be adjacent to My Xbox not exactly ‘opposite’ it (it is three positions either up or down in the list). Bizarrely, My Friends has been slowly moving away from My Xbox during the NXE’s evolution. They were adjacent in the beta, separated by just the Games and Video Marketplaces on release and now the additional Music Marketplace has also squeezed itself between them in the list.

Now it is your turn. How would you tweak the Xbox 360’s NXE?

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23 Comments

  1. I like the NXE, but the XMB is better in my opinion. The XMB has menu after menu that is mostly the same, whilst the NXE switches the layout around too much when you view different things. It also feels much easier to see your games on the XMB, perhaps a dedicated bar for all your games should show, rather than the game library.

    • Adverts, WAY to much clutter
      Slowdown, it’s VERY frustrating to use. It seems Microsoft are putting the needs of game studios before the needs of users.

      Every release of Xbox dash it gets worse, and LESS user focused and more like a money-making machine for Microsoft and their partners.

  2. Allow customisation of the currently grey panels & get rid of the wallpaper-blocking white lower half of the screen. There was a nice selection of Themes on the original dash.
    I also think the highlighted tab should be in the middle, not the left side.

    • I agree 100% I’ve hate that grey/white bit at the bottom which stops you from viewing half of your wallpaper!

  3. Ah got a 360 a few weeks ago, and i know the new dash is coming in a few months, but the nxe is horrible, so my tweaks are:

    – Get rid of the adverts!!
    – When a person is in a party, you can’t actually see who that friend is unless u wait for the names to flick through or if u recognise the avatar, so id like to see the persons name on there permanently even when in a party.
    – People don’t tend to sleep whilst standing up
    – Facebook and twitter apps seem hidden between ads, should be made clearer that they are apps, perhaps easier to access
    – Can’t copy music from usb drives or cloud pcs to the console :/
    – ‘My add-ons for my games’ section doesn’t include many of my games, fix that
    – original xbox titles don’t have any cover art in the recently played section

    • For some weird reason i found the option to actually join a game lacking even when in the same party. :S

  4. -be able to remove certain sections eg. my videos, spotlight. and sections with in though sections
    -be able to arrange sections, and sections in sections.

  5. I don’t know what I would specifically change about it, but i’d want the following:

    – Adverts and external promotions removed (srsly, most businesses I see on adverts go on a mental blacklist for wasting my time, and i’ve paid for Gold membership so don’t milk it). I just want my games and any content that I own, don’t separate me from that.
    – A MUCH better way to organising and playing back media. The menus are slow and cumbersome.

  6. I just think it looks too cluttered. Slim it down, make it more artistic. The XMB is minimalistic and I love that.

  7. i’d get rid of that bloody zune player first of all.
    having to load a bleedin app to play videos you’ve downloaded is an extra step you don’t need to take.

    that’s one of the big problems with the nxe, too many steps to do anything.
    to do almost anything, you have to enter a menu, then a submenu, and the submenu has a submenu, then you get a list, and then it asks you if you really want to do what you came down through all those bloody menus to do.

    and speaking of videos, being able to back them up to an external hard drive would also be handy.
    and being able to organise them how i want would be nice too.

    i’m trying to clear my hard drive a bit, it’s a 250 gig, and i’ve got like 90 gig left.
    and because you have to delete everything one at a time it’s taking an eternity.
    i just discovered i have 61 demos, i’m gonna be here all bleedin’ night. :(

    it feels like there’s a layer over everything keeping me from what’s really there, almost like i’m just sending instructions to somebody and they’re doing what i’m trying to do.
    whereas with the xmb it feels like you have direct access to what’s on your machine, and you’re not giving instructions through some proxy.

    and why does the whole system just not let you do anything when there’s a problem with the internet, if it’s running slow or your connection’s bad, everything just grinds to a halt.

    oh, and if you accidentally press up or down and get to another row, which happens quite often with the 360 dpad, then you have to scroll over to the option you want again as it always resets to the far left option, not a killer, but bloody annoying nonetheless.

    • You can delete the zune player then you can watch videos without it having to use zune. Deleted it myself a few days ago.

    • Yes! Copying videos and music. It’s ridiculous that you can have a custom soundtrack option but you _cannot_ copy your mp3s to the console!

  8. make it possible to copy files to the xbox hard drive

  9. Said above but more user customization with menus,that applies to the ps3 also(especially that duff photo app).There are whole bars i could get rid of in the Nxe quite happily.
    I generally enjoy the game site vids they stream and the tip vids etc but ditch those 2 over the top Uk guys,painful having to watch the emo looking one squirm whilst the lost member of Jedward badly channels Ricky Gervais,sack em.
    My personal preference would be for a more minimalist setup option for both consoles but i doubt that happening,as for the adverts i can’t say they bother me alot more than seeing a snickers ad when i put on a paid for BD/DVD to watch.

  10. Ah yeah the lack of being able to copy mp3s and vids to the HD really grates,and imo shows the age of the console,as does the complete lack of a usb mic option.

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