Aaron Greenberg talks Dashboard update

Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg, Product Manager for Xbox and Xbox Live, has spilled some beans regarding the 360’s upcoming December 4 Dashboard update.

Next to the already detailed Family Timer that allows parents to limit their kids’ play time, the man commented on downloadable Originals, Arcade Hits and some new social features.

We already knew that Originals will cost 1200 Microsoft Points each and that games like Halo, Fable, Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge will be among the first titles to become available. Now Greenberg has confirmed that new Originals will be made available pretty frequently, seeing as they have over 300 original Xbox games to choose from.

“We’re going to be adding titles at a pretty regular flow. We expect [new titles to release] on pretty much a weekly basis. We have a large catalog of backwards compatible titles to choose from,” he said.

In the spirit of offering older hits at a lower price, Microsoft is introducing Xbox Live Arcade Hits on December 5th. That means prices for Arcade games like Small Arms, Zuma Deluxe and Marble Blast Ultra will be cut down to 400 Microsoft Points. Bankshot Billiards 2 and Lumines Live will be cut to 800 points each. This is great for those of you thought some of the games weren’t worth the full price tag.

Greenberg explains: “A hit Arcade game will do hundreds of thousands of units. They’re doing some pretty big volume. We’re going to do top titles and games that publishers will agree to put in this program. The assumption is that by offering these at a value, we’re going to drive net, we’re going to drive incremental sales and revenue for the games. It’s a pretty steep discount, and some prices are being cut in half.”

The Dashboard update will also present some new social features. While now you’re just able to add a motto to your account, after the update you’ll be able to write and display an expanded bio, which can be made visible to only friends or the entire Xbox Live community.

You will also be able to browse the friends lists of other Xbox Live members and see who they’re friends with. If you don’t want to give just everyone that access then you can choose to hide your friends list. Three options are available: Everyone, Friends Only or Blocked.

“We think that’s really important. It’s all part of the growth and power of the social network.”

And yet another new feature, called Inside Xbox, will bring gamers the latest news displayed on the official Xbox website. Greenberg describes it as being similar to an RSS feed from a website on a PC. It will bring photos, text and video to your 360.

And finally,Greenberg said there’s a lot of polish and tweaking across the service that he thinks people will be pleased with.