First day of Spring… Dashboard Features?

It’s officially the first day of spring, and even though people have been begging for a new dashboard update since January, little is known about what we can expect from the Spring 2008 dashboard update. Some people think this time around may be just a few clean ups and tweaks… simply tidying up after all of the major overhauls of the previous pair of updates (adding the entire marketplace blade, integrating with LiveMessenger, Friends of Friends, Profiles…). Perhaps some attention paid to the “Achievements” button on the games blade (which, after enough games played by an individual, becomes an almost painful browsing experience). Some people think that this update (as rumored with the last several) will finally include some form of formal clan support. Some people think there will be a way to hide YOUR name from showing up on someone ELSE’S Friends of Friends list. Some people think there will be the ability to add a custom background to individual blades of the interface, rather than selecting one picture for all of them. Still, others, expect larger friends-list support.

The list of suspected dashboard features goes on, but we’re keeping our ear to the ground for anything even semi-official. Some “very” cool (according to Major Nelson) features have been in the works that didn’t make it into the last update may be included in this one. So cool, in fact, that he had to take some time to explain the coolness effect to “e.” All of this can be found in an older podcast… but who cares about all that… we just want the meat’n’taters. I’ll keep my eyes and ears wide open for you all, you keep checking back here.

Until then, feel free to start a discussion about what kinds of features YOU would like to see in this or future dashboard updates. We all love filling out a wishlist!

[Update 1]: 34% sales boost in Feb puts 2008 on track…

2008 is looking like it’s going to be another historic year for video games. Reuters (by way of USA Today) and The Associated Press (by way of The New York Times) are reporting that Video games are selling 34% better than the were this time last year. Is it that there are more games, better games, or just flat out more gamers? Ever increasing mainstream popularity among video games is certainly worth consideration, and was the topic of discussion in a recent GamerScore Blogcast episode. Based on those NPD numbers everybody likes to toss around, you can’t deny Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is partly to thank for this huge boost in game sales.

[Update 1]: As a side note, market analyst Jesse Divinch and pals predect that the 360 will regain its long held sales lead over the Playstation 3 in March and April, but they also expect the 2nd place contest to remain close.

The Xbox Live Police

I’ve never been huge on just linking off to other people’s sites, I really like to provide good analysis and news updates of my own. You know, unique content (what an idea, right?). But this article is just a bit too good to pass up.

Kotaku is running a story on The Xbox Live Police – the people working behind the scenes to make sure that, when we file a complaint, Xbox Live users can get their just desserts. Operative word being “just.” Sure, everyone has filed their share of complaints, but these are the people who take them seriously.

From the article:
Any complaint that’s not a duplicate, however, gets looked at. Every single one. In many cases, the violation is clear, and they can move on to any possible punitive steps. But for others, things can get messy. Where does good-natured [smack]-talking end and genuine offensive behaviour begin? Just because someone finds something offensive, does that mean it is offensive?
…Keep reading on Kotaku.

Gamers can be Givers, too…

I’m going to apologize up front if this post drags on, but it’s something that should be said.

So I downloaded a recent podcast episode of GamerTagRadio, a staple in the Xbox Live Community. In the opening minutes of the show, Godfree made a remark that he was “disappointed” in the Xbox Live Community. I listened intently. He made it clear that he didn’t want to stand on a soap box and preach, that wasn’t his role, but as one of the most famous and powerful podcasters in the community, he wanted to bring charity into the limelight.

The point was made that late breaking news spreads like wildfire, but what about the good things gamers do?

You may have heard a few things about RagingJellyBean and the Halo 3 Tournament to help get her surgery. If you’ve been asking “How does playing Halo give a girl a new kidney?” – why haven’t you clicked a link to find out more? The tournament has a $10 entry fee, and all proceeds will go to the fund trying to help RJB! In another case, a Guitar Hero III tournament will be brought together by a large group of gamers, Red Octane, GTR, & SFX360 (South Florida Xbox 360 Meetup), all for the benefit of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And my good buddy DeaconBlade 360, over at his Unscripted 360, has been doing everything in his power to get a poor kid who was robbed a 360. Maybe not as huge a charity, but still a great thing to try and take over. I’ve been supporting it as much as possible, and I will continue to promote this, and many other charity events in the future.

I am cooking up a few things of my own, and I found out my sister (send her a message!) spent some time at an event I can only assume was a tie in between Hollywood princess Dakota Fanning, GameCrazy stores, and Child’s Play. Momentum is growing, and these charities are doing good things, but, as Godfree and crew said, it’s our job as the bloggers and podcasters to help spread the word. A post in a forum is sometimes all we can do, but independent journalist have the duty of spreading the word as best they can. So keep it up, folks. I know I will!

GTR & SFX360 Sponsors GH III Tournament April 5th Fundraiser Event to benefit LLS
Finish RJB’s Fight
Child’s Play Charity
U360 Cares