Gamers will notice a radically revamped Xbox.com experience Wednesday morning. Microsoft is adding a new design and several social features, including an avatar creator, Windows Phone 7 integration and even playable web games.
Though many of the core features will be the same, the social experience will improve with the addition of a unified inbox for messages, friend requests and game requests. You’ll be able to customize your avatar (with previews of new clothing purchases) at the website, and the Marketplace search engine will get new filters and browsing options.
Microsoft is also adding new parental controls. The “Family Reports” system will help you “understand what your family is doing and how they are using Live,” according to a blog post by Xbox Live bigwig Major Nelson.
The additional features for families are to be expected since the new controller-free gaming system Kinect will launch for Xbox 360 in just two weeks. Microsoft hopes that add-on will attract family members of hardcore gamers to the game console.
However, the most surprising addition is that of playable web games. Microsoft will support cross-platform play between Xbox, Windows Phone 7 and web users — a first for the platform. The Xbox Live team hasn’t announced whether or not you’ll be able to earn Achievements or Gamer Score points when playing the web games, but we wouldn’t be surprised.
story by: mashable