360 games to be installable to HDD

Plus in-game dashboard, new displays.

Microsoft has decided to let you install Xbox 360 games to the hard drive.

Xbox Live boss Marc Whitten revealed the feature on the Major Nelson blog and boasted about it improving load-times and reducing DVD drive noise, although you will still need the disc in the drive to play in order to verify that you own the game.

He went on to unveil an in-game dashboard that lets you access every feature and option "no matter where you are", although being near the telly and console will presumably help.

There will be new display modes, too, including 16:10 over VGA or HDMI, plus 1440x900 and 1680x1050. That one's our favourite.

On top of that, Microsoft will let us browse and buy Live Marketplace content on the PC from the Xbox website. This means we can do handy things such as set films or game demos downloading so they will be ready when we get home.

Whitten also expanded on the Live Party system where you can specify a group of seven others that you move from game to game - or movie - with. The feature was announced during Microsoft's E3 press briefing. You can chat in the dashboard before playing or watching and it's supposed to work with all Xbox games.

"Because of your feedback, we started rethinking the entire Xbox experience," said Whitten. "What we discovered was that we could not only provide a better experience for you, but also something that reaches out to new audiences."

Microsoft had much more to say during its E3 conference earlier this evening. Pop over to our live report to see what happened.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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