Microsoft has updated its Xbox Live experience through the Xbox 360 dashboard, complete with new voice and motion controls. As Hayley Tsukayama reported:
Big changes are coming to the Xbox 360 dashboard, though Windows fans will likely find them oddly familiar.
The new layout is a complete departure from the design Microsoft introduced for the console in 2008 and instead embraces the “Metro” design elements now on Windows phones and planned for Windows 8. The unification works beautifully on the Xbox, eliminating the clunky flipcard design in favor of the tiles that make up the core of Metro’s design.
The real change to the dashboard is not in its looks, but in the greatly expanded voice and motion control. Pulled way beyond the “Kinect Hub” on the current interface, users can use their hands and voices to navigate through the vast majority of Xbox menus. This expansion, combined with the console’s new Bing integration, has made searching for content on Xbox Live far more intuitive.
It has also introduced a cloud-saving feature that’s made it easier for gamers to switch profiles and access their games from anywhere with an Internet connection without having to tote their USB drives to friends’ houses.
Adding cloud saves takes away one of the few features that PlayStation Plus had over Xbox Live. Luckily for Sony, Microsoft still hasn’t added a browser to its services, though the YouTube app can probably fill a chunk of the functionality gamers might want from a browser.
The interface on the Xbox Live update had users taking to message boards in excitement, but one change which concerned many was the mandatory change in the terms of service that forced members to agree not to sue the company. As Hayley Tsukayama explained:
The slick Xbox Live update that finally rolled out to users apparently came with a fly in the ointment — a mandatory change to its terms of service that requires members to agree not to sue or join class action lawsuits against the company. Instead, the terms ask users to agree to private arbitration in cases of disagreement.
Sony rolled out a similar update to its terms of service in September; EA’s Origin cloud gaming service followed course shortly thereafter.
The Xbox update is different, however, in that it doesn’t appear that users can opt-out of the arbitration agreement. Microsoft confirmed to Kotaku that users have to okay the new clause in order to use Xbox Live.
“They may now bring a dispute to our attention by filling out a simple Notice of Dispute form found at www.xbox.com/notice and mailing in documentation in support of their claim,” the company statement to the blog reads. “We will then work to resolve the dispute to their satisfaction within 60 days. Any customer unsatisfied with the outcome of this informal process may easily initiate arbitration with the American Arbitration Association.”
Sony made a similar change to its terms of service in response to a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that allowed companies to ban class action lawsuits if individual arbitration was an option. As Hayley Tsukayama reported:
Sony has updated the terms of service for its PlayStation Network to include a clause that would keep customers from filing class action lawsuits against the company, “its affiliates, parents or subsidiaries.”
Sony does provide gamers the opportunity to opt out of the arbitration requirement and the class-action waiver, but puts the onus on the customer to contact Sony in writing within 30 days of accepting the new terms.
Several companies include similar language in their terms of service, requiring that customers pursue individual arbitration to resolve disputes with the company. In April 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that companies could ban class-action efforts when companies require that consumers pursue complaints through individual arbitration rather than lawsuits, the Post reported at the time.