Today Microsoft has announced the rollout of the Xbox 360 Spring 2011 dashboard update, which will be making its way to all Xbox 360 consoles between May 19 and May 30. Microsoft is deploying the update in six waves throughout this period to ensure the best quality deployment, and as Microsoft’s Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) points out, the update will be sent to your system just like any other console update.
The Spring 2011 dashboard update includes:
- PayPal support – PayPal is now available as means for gamers to purchase Microsoft Points, Xbox Live Gold subscriptions and Games on Demand. While this will be available in numerous regions, these countries are currently excluded: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan.
- Auto-standby for power saving – The Xbox 360 will now be automatically turned to standby if it's left idle for more than one hour. This will reduce the power consumption of the console, and will be automatically enabled after the update is installed (you can disable it via the system settings)
Also added to this system update is support for the new and improved Xbox 360 disc format XGD3 which allows for an extra 1GB of disc space on standard Xbox 360 DVDs by removing the unnecessary video sector. According to WinRumors, it's unclear whether the update also brings improved anti-piracy measures such as wider “AP2.5” (Anti-Piracy v2.5) support; however this is highly likely as previous dashboard updates have all tried to thwart pirates.
Another major Xbox feature is set to launch on May 27, and that is Avatar Kinect. Announced at CES in January, Avatar Kinect will bring a unique way for Xbox 360 Kinect users to communicate between one another via the use of the Kinect’s facial tracking (including expressions) support. This new feature has been promoted by Microsoft as a social experience that brings your Avatar to life.