Windows 8 inspired theme for Xbox 360 dashboard

Since Microsoft unveiled the first few snapshots of the new start menu for Windows 8 last week, there's been several hints along the way that the company want to create and integrate a user interface that is familiar across all of their products. Microsoft have previously stated that Windows 8, which is due to launch next year, would be able to work on a variety of products but how about that user interface that people would be used to, being on the Xbox 360 as well?

Earlier on in the day, Neowin reported the Xbox E3 conference in which Microsoft chose to reveal a number of future items coming to the gaming platform such as Live TV, Bing search and these screenshots, posted by Paul Thurrott show these new features in action. There is not an exact timeline in which users will see these changes but current word is in the last quarter of 2011.

The Xbox 360 as well as the recently launched Kinect have gone down well with consumers and its one of Microsoft's more successful brands. With several new games being released for the platform, many of those being compatible with Kinect, it will only strengthen the console's position. Amongst that list is the increasingly popular Minecraft game in which a world of blocks is your own, although how that will work with Kinect is anyone's guess.

Image Credit: winsupersite.com

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Why does everyone give the Zune team credit for the metro design language? I was under the impression that Metro wasn't even formalized as a design principal until after zune was released.

I'm pretty sure Zune team were one of the first who vetted the new design principles Microsoft are now backing, however none of this was known as Metro.


Can anyone within MS definitively answer this?

dotf said,
Why does everyone give the Zune team credit for the metro design language? I was under the impression that Metro wasn't even formalized as a design principal until after zune was released.

Zune borrowed concepts from Windows XP Media Center and Media Center 2005 anyway... The point is that this UI has been evolving at MS for some 6-7+ years, even though the formalization of Metro as a design language has only been recent.

I like this. So much better than the cluster of a UI the Xbox 360 currently has. It's very confusing and difficult to access certain features you don't use everyday since they aren't in the obvious places they should be in.

This is a very good idea IMO... I also really like the new theme.. With it on my phone, my computer when Windows 8 is out... I might just want to get a Xbox to have it all lol... Yes im a geek! Then I have been a member of this website for many years now sooooo, you should already known this about me

Having used all the xbox interfaces and knowing their hub layout, i have some serios doubt about usability of this interface...

Whoa, metro ui looks really nice with those light blob shadows.
Can't wait to get it! (well, after getting my first xbox )

This dashboard is the best thing to come out of e3 for the 360, it looks awesome. I hope there are more options when viewing achievements, like to put your favorite at the top.

What is up with master chief in that CE remake though? If your going to remake something, make it better.

I only hate that white-gray background... But thanks God it can be replaced with a theme... BTW, nice work MS.... can't wait to download the beta dash.

I'm Sorry but this is not a Windows 8 UI at all..
just open your zune software and it is exactly the same as Zune ...
all of Microsoft is coping Zunes Metro UI and we should be giving the Zune team the credit on the windows team..

Bing's users share will go boom boom! This will popularize Bing as a verb like Google.
Bing this!
Bing that!
Bing will grow insanely really fast this year. On WP7 , IE 9 , Blackberry , Nokia phones , and now Xbox.
This amounts to several hundred million users this year instantly. Year of Bing!

FMH said,
Bing's users share will go boom boom! This will popularize Bing as a verb like Google.
Bing this!
Bing that!
Bing will grow insanely really fast this year. On WP7 , IE 9 , Blackberry , Nokia phones , and now Xbox.
This amounts to several hundred million users this year instantly. Year of Bing!

Nope, lawsuit! buhahah!

FMH said,
Bing's users share will go boom boom! This will popularize Bing as a verb like Google.
Bing this!
Bing that!
Bing will grow insanely really fast this year. On WP7 , IE 9 , Blackberry , Nokia phones , and now Xbox.
This amounts to several hundred million users this year instantly. Year of Bing!

haha never thought of that but it will verbalize bing sooo much because people will say it all the time now

Lachlan said,

haha never thought of that but it will verbalize bing sooo much because people will say it all the time now

Good thing that MS didn't name it Bang, then?

JonathanMarston said,
Anyone know if it includes Netflix in the search results?

I don't know if anyone can say for sure or not. I would imagine it's a unified Bing search across all content providers, local and cloud.

Interesting. Though I like the visual style of the UI, I wonder how user friendly this type of UI will be for the controller crowd...

For example, looking at the screenshot, we're in "apps". Clearly all of the tiles in the main apps window will need to be selectable. As well as allowing you to move to "settings" and "music". I certainly hope you won't have to scroll past all of the tiles in "apps" before proceeding to "settings"... Maybe trigger buttons?

M_Lyons10 said,
Interesting. Though I like the visual style of the UI, I wonder how user friendly this type of UI will be for the controller crowd...

For example, looking at the screenshot, we're in "apps". Clearly all of the tiles in the main apps window will need to be selectable. As well as allowing you to move to "settings" and "music". I certainly hope you won't have to scroll past all of the tiles in "apps" before proceeding to "settings"... Maybe trigger buttons?


definately triggers

eilegz said,
looks like XMB ripoff

Its nothing like the XMB. I have playstation 3 and the XMB interface is not that great I wish sony would change it.

noleafclover said,
I'd like to see bing search... IN A BROWSER IE10 please!

It sure would be nice to be able to browse the internet with the XBox... My god that would be awesome!

noleafclover said,
I'd like to see bing search... IN A BROWSER IE10 please!

I'd rather not risk the exploits that come along with browsers these days.

noleafclover said,
I'd like to see bing search... IN A BROWSER IE10 please!
yes totally agree! the added youtube support definately helps it, but to grab more ps3 lover's attention a true browser would be key

That does look really good; really slick and "fun". I do hope, though, that they finally improve the response of the Dashboard menu while replying to messages in game as well!

People here must not game a lot on PC because Games For Windows Live platform for PC is **** interface wise and control wise when comparing it with other Digital Distribution platforms like Steam or EADM (renamed Origin now).
So no... not all things coming from the mobile and especially in this case the XBOX division are good for my PC sanity. One small thing I could name is the horrid messaging system.

SoulLance said,
People here must not game a lot on PC because Games For Windows Live platform for PC is **** interface wise and control wise when comparing it with other Digital Distribution platforms like Steam or EADM (renamed Origin now).
So no... not all things coming from the mobile and especially in this case the XBOX division are good for my PC sanity. One small thing I could name is the horrid messaging system.

well i have never had any problems with gfwl... it could be better, but its not like steam is amazing either. at least in gfwl i dont need to open it to enter a game, it does that in the interface, like mmorpg, you enter, give your logging info and sign in, and end... you can play the game. the reason i didn't get Dawn of war 2 was because of steam. dunno what games have you played, but maybe you are makiing stuff up with gfwl. and no, im not really defending gfwl, im saying both systems are good, but at the same time are crap for PC gaming. at least mmorpg dont go that bad route of using these kind of systems. even blizzard still sticks to their battle.net.

but oh well, maybe i just have been lucky and gfwl has worked fine for me.

I really love this. It looks like Microsoft is the new innovation leader in the tech world. They've still got a long way to go, though...

PlogCF said,
I really love this. It looks like Microsoft is the new innovation leader in the tech world. They've still got a long way to go, though...

It appears this way to consumers, but Microsoft never stopped being the innovation leader, it was just stuff you didn't see.

Playing Hulu and other Flash based video content on iPhones and iPads, is based on Microsoft created technology for Apple.

The GPU in your smartphone, all PCs, and all Macs are based on a GPU hardware design created by Microsoft hardware engineers, that is a result of the R&D that also went into the XBox 360.

The prior generation GPU technologies of the dedicated PS and VS shaders in GPUs that was used in the early 00s was also designed by Microsoft hardware engineers and given to NVidia, which makes it kinds of ironic that the GPU based on the Geforce 7900 in the PS3 (PSX) is based on Microsoft's hardware designs for the original XBox that was transformed to PC GPUs.

Even the modern Shader languages used by GPUs, whether it is CUDA, OpenGL, or DirectX are based on the shader language Microsoft created and wrote in the late 90s. Again, you don't see this, but even OS X uses it, as anything that runs shader code through a GPU.

Even as bad as Vista was seen by users, the fact that Win8 can do the unified interface of the tiles and the desktop seamlessly is because of the WDDM/WDM technologies created for Vista, that were also used in the XBox 360. (And Windows Vista and Windows 7 are the only OSes in the world that have this level of Video and GPU technologies, as the OS, not the applications handles the GPU threads and scheduling and Video RAM management which allows 3D applications and games to be fast and have access to tons of RAM while still keeping the entire OS Video and GPU interactions responsive.

Microsoft R&D is working on stuff we won't see or won't be useful/common for another 5 to 10 years. The stuff we are seeing and using today was part of the Microsoft R&D that was going on in the 90s, like the GPU technologies Microsoft created.

It is a bit sad that the consumer world doesn't realize what Microsoft really does, and tries to judge them based on what is front of them with a Microsoft logo on it, as they do so much for the entire technology industry that 99% of even the technical community doesn't see or realize.

Its not windows 8 inspired... Its metro UI which came from zune, then to wp7 then to windows then to xbox (order announced)

zikalify said,
Its not windows 8 inspired... Its metro UI which came from zune, then to wp7 then to windows then to xbox (order announced)

yea but apperently its bad to mention zune at all now.

zikalify said,
Its not windows 8 inspired... Its metro UI which came from zune, then to wp7 then to windows then to xbox (order announced)

It should be Zune, wp7, xbox and last windows 8. remember windows 8 its not out yet.

@auziez : why are we not allow to mention Zune? If it wasn't for Zune microsoft won't be doing all this with Metro UI in it.

xchaser said,

It should be Zune, wp7, xbox and last windows 8. remember windows 8 its not out yet.

@auziez : why are we not allow to mention Zune? If it wasn't for Zune microsoft won't be doing all this with Metro UI in it.

in the brackets i did say order announced

xchaser said,

It should be Zune, wp7, xbox and last windows 8. remember windows 8 its not out yet.

@auziez : why are we not allow to mention Zune? If it wasn't for Zune microsoft won't be doing all this with Metro UI in it.

Trust me, i love zune, love the branding...
But lately Microsoft hasnt even mentioned Zune in its products...I dont know why, because its the zune team that brought to life this whole interface!!
I was mainly being sarcastically truthful in that post. It just seems like MS is being Mum about that part of its company...

auziez said,

Trust me, i love zune, love the branding...
But lately Microsoft hasnt even mentioned Zune in its products...I dont know why, because its the zune team that brought to life this whole interface!!
I was mainly being sarcastically truthful in that post. It just seems like MS is being Mum about that part of its company...

The stand alone hardware, no they haven't mentioned it...

However, WP7 is essentially a Zune and a Phone.

They also have shoved the server side features to the PC, Web, and XBox rather well, bringing the store and the technologies to non-Zune hardware platforms.

When you rent a movie on an XBox, it is Zune.

Zune was always more than just the MP3 player sold in stores, it was a model and marketplace restructure that was designed to move to beyond the MP3 players as they become obsolete.

With WP7, Zune hardware is obsolete, as it is silly for most people to buy a $200 MP3 player when their phone does everything the MP3 player can do, and the services of Zune Pass are available on the phone, your XBox, your PC or via a Web page.

As Windows 8 expands, and is on TVs and in cars, this will extend the Zune ecosystem even further.

thenetavenger said,

The stand alone hardware, no they haven't mentioned it...

However, WP7 is essentially a Zune and a Phone.

They also have shoved the server side features to the PC, Web, and XBox rather well, bringing the store and the technologies to non-Zune hardware platforms.

When you rent a movie on an XBox, it is Zune.

Zune was always more than just the MP3 player sold in stores, it was a model and marketplace restructure that was designed to move to beyond the MP3 players as they become obsolete.

With WP7, Zune hardware is obsolete, as it is silly for most people to buy a $200 MP3 player when their phone does everything the MP3 player can do, and the services of Zune Pass are available on the phone, your XBox, your PC or via a Web page.

As Windows 8 expands, and is on TVs and in cars, this will extend the Zune ecosystem even further.

A big issue I had both with Zune and WP7 is that the device is not seen as a mass storage one so I could not play the music I stored there in my car (BMW). That is the reason why I still have an iPhone 3 I keep in the car.

Fritzly said,

A big issue I had both with Zune and WP7 is that the device is not seen as a mass storage one so I could not play the music I stored there in my car (BMW). That is the reason why I still have an iPhone 3 I keep in the car.


For Zune they sell FM transmitters and for WP7 bluetooth with FM transmitters built-in work great. This is the one I use http://www.jabra.com/sites/mob...cts/pages/jabracruiser.aspx

The Shackles are off! Lovin' what they are doing with these interfaces. The upcoming wave 5 of windows live cloud interface is looking promising as well.

dtboos said,
The Shackles are off! Lovin' what they are doing with these interfaces. The upcoming wave 5 of windows live cloud interface is looking promising as well.

Where have you seen this?

I MUST KNOW

dtboos said,
The Shackles are off! Lovin' what they are doing with these interfaces. The upcoming wave 5 of windows live cloud interface is looking promising as well.

Where have you seen this?

I MUST KNOW

Although they still don't seem to care that much about consistency To be fully consistent with Windows 8's use of Metro, either the headings on this (apps, home, social, games, etc.) should begin with a capital letter, or the Start heading on the Windows 8 Start screen should begin with a lowercase letter. Why do Microsoft often miss such dreadful inconsistencies? I can only hope they correct this problem before releasing either this new Dashboard update or Windows 8.

Callum said,
Although they still don't seem to care that much about consistency To be fully consistent with Windows 8's use of Metro, either the headings on this (apps, home, social, games, etc.) should begin with a capital letter, or the Start heading on the Windows 8 Start screen should begin with a lowercase letter. Why do Microsoft often miss such dreadful inconsistencies? I can only hope they correct this problem before releasing either this new Dashboard update or Windows 8.

It actually looks a lot like Zune. When I first saw it I was like "Oh hey there Zune!"

Callum said,
Although they still don't seem to care that much about consistency To be fully consistent with Windows 8's use of Metro, either the headings on this (apps, home, social, games, etc.) should begin with a capital letter, or the Start heading on the Windows 8 Start screen should begin with a lowercase letter. Why do Microsoft often miss such dreadful inconsistencies? I can only hope they correct this problem before releasing either this new Dashboard update or Windows 8.

wow... well still there is plenty of time to do that stuff. its not like stuff is going to be released tomorrow, so dont worry. the point is to show what they are working on, but still they will keep working on it until its released.

Callum said,
Although they still don't seem to care that much about consistency To be fully consistent with Windows 8's use of Metro, either the headings on this (apps, home, social, games, etc.) should begin with a capital letter, or the Start heading on the Windows 8 Start screen should begin with a lowercase letter. Why do Microsoft often miss such dreadful inconsistencies? I can only hope they correct this problem before releasing either this new Dashboard update or Windows 8.

This UI is probably more finalized than that of Windows 8. This is also more consistent with the Metro UI, most headings are all lowercase letters, not caps.

LukeEmery said,

It actually looks a lot like Zune. When I first saw it I was like "Oh hey there Zune!"

Yeah...and zune is beautiful!! <3

I rather like the idea, 1 unified interface throughout the different systems. nice idea, lets see if the execution lives up to it.

The Halo said,
I rather like the idea, 1 unified interface throughout the different systems. nice idea, lets see if the execution lives up to it.

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

Metro UI is beautiful... unless your into that Windows 98 vibe OSx lion gives off. So many icons... so much gray chrome...

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

I guess that you would prefer a stupid grid of passive icons over a busy wallpaper as the Xbox360 Kinect UI, even when icons don't make any f***ing sense in a natural user interface.

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

Only aspects of it. I for one quite like it.

The Halo said,
I rather like the idea, 1 unified interface throughout the different systems. nice idea, lets see if the execution lives up to it.

looks like they are finally changing it for larger LCD's as well.. seems like it would be perfect for a 50 inch TV.. I also like how it is centered unlike the one right now that is off to the left..

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

And I'm sure you hated the 'glass' of Vista/Win7 Aero because it was too 'pretty', and the Theme/Skins in XP because they were too flashy.

The UI is simple and elegant, we no longer need simulated 3D borders on everything to appear 'cool' and less 'flat'. Today we actually have the technology to do real 3D and have animations and other 'glitz'.

This really reminds me of the early DTP days, where people would put every line style on the page and every font they had available, as the 'plain text' and 'white space' was just so 'bland'...

Any good graphic designer has appreciation for simple and white space and readability and any UI theorist has appreciation for simplistic interface elements that are 'functional'.

I'm sure you see 'flat' tiles on the screen, most people see 'live tiles' that are functional, can be pretty, simple and easy to use.

Lachlan said,

looks like they are finally changing it for larger LCD's as well.. seems like it would be perfect for a 50 inch TV.. I also like how it is centered unlike the one right now that is off to the left..

I use Zune on a 40" TV and it looks lovely. I imagine this will be the same. EXCITED!

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.
Agreed. The concept is good but the UI lets it down as per usual with most Microsoft products.
Just my opinion of course, I'm sure lots of people like this look, just not everyone.

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

According to you that is the case, but I know plenty of people who think that the design is nice and just read the other comments.

LordBattleBeard said,
Agreed. The concept is good but the UI lets it down as per usual with most Microsoft products.
Just my opinion of course, I'm sure lots of people like this look, just not everyone.

How many products based on the metro design do you use on a daily basis? The more I use metro, the more metro i want. WP7, Zune, and now xbox dash and windows 8 start page, W00T!

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.

You're the most butthurt individual I've ever met in regards to an interface. All you do is rant and rave on Metro. We get it, you don't like it.

Ayepecks said,

You're the most butthurt individual I've ever met in regards to an interface. All you do is rant and rave on Metro. We get it, you don't like it.

I'm not butthurt at all. I just think it's really, really ugly and it annoys me that MS is forcing it into everything. I like MS products, so of course it's going to annoy me when they are putting what I consider a really, really ugly UI into everything.

Ji@nBing said,

It's just too bad that the UI they are using is the ugliest one ever created though.
That's your opinion. Looks better than iOS and even Android. Tiles are better than icons, shows more info and it looks very cool. I WANT IT ALL. You dont have to buy it.