This past week Nintendo and Xbox 360 rolled out their system updates, the 3DS and the Xbox Dashboard. Since I have both the 3DS and Xbox, I applied the new updates. To read the features put together by the 3DS, take a look at the overview provided by Nintendo’s official website. TechNewsDaily reviewed and provided a photo of the new Xbox Dashboard here. After playing around with both, here’s what I think of the new updates.
Nintendo 3DS: I really don’t care much for the ability to record videos using the Nintendo 3DS built in camera. I hardly use the camera as it is and I doubt I’ll be using my 3DS to start recording videos.
What I did like was the update for StreetPass Mii Plaza. They added new puzzles to collect and a new level of the Find Mii game. So when your 3DS and another 3DS “meet” there’s a whole new experience to discover with this additional content. Before the system update once you finish collecting all the puzzle pieces and complete the entire Find Mii game, using StreetPass after that kind of becomes boring. It’s great to have Nintendo add some new puzzles and levels to make using StreetPass entertaining. StreetPass also added achievements for when you complete something using this feature. The achievements feature isn’t really necessary. It’s as if Nintendo wants to become like Xbox or Playstation with the achievement unlock focus. And when your 3DS meets another 3DS from another state or country, it appears as a mini-map on StreetPass to show how international being a 3DS owner can be.
Another huge improvement in this 3DS system update is the system to system game files transfer and the enhanced online capabilities. I have yet to use the online capabilities they improved on, but from what I’ve read you can easily join any of your friends in an online gaming match without the person and their 3DS being in the same room as you. If this is the case, it makes gaming between portable consoles much easier.
I can’t review on the Nintendo Zone feature they added in their update since I haven’t actually taken my 3DS out since the new update, but apparently if you are in a Wi-Fi area you will get the ability to watch game previews, get exclusive coupons, and trivia challenges for free. Or at least that’s what Nintendo’s official website boasts.
Xbox 360 Dashboard: Ever since the Xbox 360 Dashboard update has been announced, it was considered the most highly anticipated update for the console. The massive update includes new features, which will largely require an Xbox Live Gold subscription (which I don’t have, but will be getting for Christmas from my cousin). I may have the free subscription right now, but I like the look of the new Dashboard. It took getting used to the new look, but I feel it’s more organized. There are menus organized as bing, home, social, tv, etc. The Bing search bar, Cloud Storage, and the Kinect based voice control for the Dashboard are among the biggest new features for their Dashboard.
I had fun using voice control to command my Xbox to search for what I wanted using Bing or bringing up one of the menus on the Dashboard without the controller. As the reviewer at TechNewsDaily said, the voice command is pretty cool but it definitely is not perfect. I remember I was trying to get the Kinect to look up Cloud Storage in Bing but it kept insisting I was looking for something else entirely. Voice command using Kinect isn’t entirely new before the update, but it was limited to just switching between the regular Xbox Dashboard and the Kinect Motion Sensor Dashboard. Xbox really took the Kinect to a whole other level.
The Cloud Storage feature will require a Gold subscription to use, but it gives gamers another alternate place to store their game saves if they didn’t want to store everything onto their external hard drive or USB. This is something I need to try out once I get my Gold subscription. Doesn’t mean I will get rid of my USB any time soon, but it’s good to have options or extra places to store your saves.
The Xbox Dashboard will also have Verizon FiOS capabilities as well as other channels like HBO for a gamer to use? I’m a bit hazy on this detail. From what I can see, Xbox 360 is paving the way to become the digital cable television of the future. I’m assuming we won’t need cable boxes with what Xbox is trying to do with television. They are extending their reach far beyond gaming, and it will be interesting to see how Xbox leads the way.
My final thoughts on the system updates are this, the system update for the Nintendo 3DS is puny compared to what the Xbox 360 has hauled out. The Dashboard update may have been delayed by a day, but I think what they came out with was worth the wait. With all the new features and their ambitions in cable and television in general, Xbox is continuing to evolve.
The Nintendo 3DS may have used the Xbox Dashboard update delay to their advantage by heavily promoting how very available their system update was that day, but I think the Nintendo 3DS system update gets shoved to the side with the Xbox Dashboard update. I think Nintendo will really need to do something about making their console/portables relevant. If the sales report on Xbox is any indication, Nintendo is going to fall dead last in the console wars.
I like Nintendo, but with all the shiny new features the Xbox is churning out it’s impossible not to want to ignore Nintendo when you have more capabilities and functionality on the Xbox. Nintendo is starting to look more and more like the last season console, which is a shame.