Thursday, November 20, 2008

NXE Immediate Experience

Like many, I was given.... or forced to take... the New Xbox Experience (NXE) a bit early. There are at least two massive problems. One is that it forces you to have an avatar. I do not want an avatar. Or, a Mii, since that's what it looks exactly like, a Nintendo Mii. I absolutely despise the fact that some idiots at Microsoft think I have to have a Mii to use my Xbox, because it serves no functional purpose (and besides the selections of clothes are ridiculously limited, as are hair styles and colors).

But you can mostly ignore your Mii once you make it. Far more problematic is the interface. You really have to wonder how they achieve such heights of incompetence. Although the previous interface was dismal due to the lack of any sense as to where things were, this one suffers some obvious problems. One is that it wastes a lot of space. Yes, white space (unused space) is useful in some situations (such as buffer areas between different fields), but you don't need a ton of it. The other problem I have noticed so far is with the design of the interface in terms of the gestalt. There is a text list on the left hand side, each of which is a category of something or other. Each category then opens up a series of visual panes across the middle of the interface. You can scroll up and down through the list, and left and right across the panes. But why do they mix the text and visual gestalts? The big problem here, though, is that the panes cover up the list below the current selection. So, if you want to find something in the text list, you can read the list above where you are (although the text gets smaller and harder to read), but if what you are looking for is below your current selection in the list, you can't see it. (The list does wrap, though.) Unbelievable.

So far the look and feel is more like Windows. I wish they would put more effort into getting the hardware working, although my 4th Xbox is doing alright to date. If the hardware doesn't work, it doesn't matter how cool the OS is, I will never see it because my Xbox will be back at the repair center. (Yes, of course I mean Xbox 360. Whatever. I wonder what they will name the 3rd gen. Xbox Sphere?)

Update: I am not the only one who hates NXE (although I generally like NME), so does Gabe at PA: "Gabriel hates the New Xbox Experience". Oh and look a RRoD that isn't mine. Amazing.