While it's not as radical a change as the autumn 2008 dashboard update that added avatars, there are plenty of improvements to current features, as well as a few new ones. The dashboard update will be available for Xbox 360 owners on 11 August, but we were able to download an early version, and took it for a test drive.
One notable feature that was included was the Avatar Marketplace, for buying, via Microsoft Points, clothing and accessories for your avatar. The thin selection of customisable clothing options for the 360's avatars always hinted at a pay-to-play future for the system. The options we saw in the new Avatar Marketplace cost between 80 and 320 Microsoft Points. Available collections were built around games such as Halo 3 and Fable II. There were also some sections based on themes such as 'steampunk'.
Missing from our early download, however, were the much-anticipated Twitter and Facebook apps, as well as the Games on Demand service for 360 games (currently only older, original Xbox games are available).
Click through the gallery for a walkthrough of some of the new 360 dashboard features.