Microsoft dates XBL dashboard update

Full details on features for August launch.

Microsoft has announced that the previously trailed Xbox 360 dashboard update will launch on 11th August.

The update introduces the Games on Demand store announced at E3, where you will be able to buy and download older full Xbox 360 titles through digital distribution.

Games on Demand will replace the existing Xbox Originals store, where Xbox 1 titles are sold in the same way, and should have around 30 titles at launch according to the E3 ballyhoo.

These will include Assassin's Creed, BioShock, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Mass Effect and Sonic the Hedgehog, and Kotaku reveals that any existing save-games you might have for the disc versions will be compatible with the downloadable ones.

The 11th August update also introduces the Avatar Marketplace, where you can exchange Microsoft Points for new clothing and other items in a mixed catalogue of game and real-life branded goods.

For our friends in the US, the update also adds the ability to edit movie queues with Netflix, and there's a movie party option that lets you watch stuff as a group with your avatars in a virtual cinema. This is the same tech we expect to see when Xbox Live's Sky TV and Canal+ deals come to fruition in the UK and France respectively.

As is tradition, the dashboard update also takes care of a myriad bug-fixes and other tweaks, which are detailed in last week's story on the subject.

However, some of the other additions announced at E3 - 1080p instant-on video playback, Zune video downloads, and Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm integration - are all due to launch "later this fall", which is autumn in old money.

Yesterday Microsoft revealed that you can get hold of the 11th August update early as part of a New Xbox Experience-style preview programme, for which you'll need to fill in a little questionnaire and have your console serial number and ID handy - both of which you can locate in the information pane of the system menu.

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