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Impact - A Blog by INM

The Xbox 360 Experience

January 26, 2009 by Tanya McGinnity

It’s amazing to think of how far products have come in our digital generation. Before, consumers would purchase a piece of equipment with a sole purpose in mind, knowing that their experience of this product would be the same as the day they sent in their warranty card.

Oh how things have changed. We’ve moved into an era where via a software push, our user experience of a hardware solution can completely change and a product purchased with a set of expectations gets a re-vamp within seconds.

Case in point, Microsoft continuously pushes out firmware changes to their popular gaming console, the Xbox 360 to further improve the consumer experience. Back in November they released an update by the name of the "New Xbox Experience (NXE)"in which, among many updates, they completely redesigned their user interface and revamped their navigational system to be more in line with the look and feel of Windows Media Center (although to many, it seems to be a bit closer to the look of Apple’s iTunes cover flow system). They also added fully customizable avatars for use in game play and now allow users to create custom skins for wallpaper backgrounds as an additional means to personalize the user experience. In addition to this, Microsoft partnered with Netflix to permit subscribers to watch movies on their Xbox 360’s.

Is there something to learn from the Xbox 360 Experience for businesses in other industries? How can traditionally static devices we encounter on a daily basis transform their user experience in the blink of an eye? What improvements can be harnessed via small iterative changes to an existing structure to how users have traditionally come to know your product? Is there a way to build in this agile approach within your industry?