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Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update detailed: DivX, XBLA Hits, and more

Big news, video game fans.  Joystiq has the scoop:

For their second Xbox 360 Fall Dashboard Update, Microsoft decided to trickle the features out instead of dropping them on us all at once. Around Halloween, we realized things were awful quiet, so we asked you what you wanted to see in the Fall Update. On November 7, Microsoft kicked things off by announcing the Parental Timer, a feature we're certain you're all eager to try out. They followed that up on November 13 by confirming Xbox Originals, downloadable Xbox 1 games for your 360. On the 26th, they spilled the beans on the social-networky "Friends of Friends" feature, ostensibly to give paranoid folks some time to disable the functionality (which they can do here). Capping it all off a day later, MS Japan dropped some info, notably the ability to set your real name (your real name is xXsmokezmadbluntz420Xx?), your location, and a brief bio – more of that social networking stuff the kids are crazy about.

Finally, after what seemed an interminable wait, Microsoft was ready to let us in on the big picture. We spoke with Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg about next Tuesday's update and what was still in store. "There are three different categories that speak to a majority of the updates," Greenberg told us.

First in that list is downloadable games – that's your Xbox Originals and your Xbox Live Arcade Hits. Though he couldn't tell us how many Xbox games they're looking to put up on the service, he did say they expected it to be more of a portfolio-style system ala XBLA than a library service ala Wii Virtual Console. In other words, don't expect every one of the 465 back-compat Xbox games to suddenly appear in the Marketplace, but they will have six games to kick the service off – Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Halo, Fable, Fuzion Frenzy, and Psychonauts.

On to part two of this three part update: the social functionality! They've got a new "Inside Xbox" feed just below your gamercard on the Xbox Live blade. What's in there? Think of it as an RSS feed straight outta Redmond – updates on the service, the offerings, the new games that week.

The final component of the update is a little amorphous. They've got the Parental Timer, which we'll gloss over here. There are also some notable updates on the video side. Small update: full-screen previews. Megaton update: MPEG-4 Part 2 video codec support. Specifically, MPEG-4 Part 2 ASP (advanced simple profile) and SP (simple profile) in an AVI container. What does that mean to us humans? Greenberg decodes, "What that basically means is that our users should find that most of their DivX and Xvid files will work because they're under that umbrella of the MPEG-4 Part 2 codec." Of course, this is probably the single most requested feature for the console.

The Fall Update drops next Tuesday, December 4th.

Awesome. Thanks Bryan.

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