See below for the press release from Microsoft detailing new Avatar customization (including clothing featuring Star Wars/LucasArts games) as well as new Games on Demand, which includes LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga:
Xbox LIVE Puts a World of Entertainment at Your Fingertips
Less than a week from today, the latest Xbox LIVE update will arrive to more than 20 million Xbox LIVE members, and with it will come the next evolution of connected entertainment on Xbox 360. Get ready to meet the many new faces of your Xbox 360; whether it’s new Avatar duds and awards from Adidas or “Splosion Man,” full Xbox 360 titles downloaded straight to your console, or even a private home movie theater, Xbox LIVE has something for YOU.
Avatars are people too!
It’s a brand new day for your Avatar, because now the little gal or fella has a Marketplace of his or her own. With an ever-expanding selection of stores, think of Avatar Marketplace as your Avatar’s own personal shopping mall full of premium outfits and accessories from your favorite games and fashion brands. And to keep your Avatars from getting bored, we’re giving them fun new animated props to play with; everything from a basketball to pompoms, even a cell phone…just try to stick with nights and weekends. Your Avatar’s one-stop-shop for threads and more will launch with a growing collection from the top names in fashion and gaming:
· Props: New Avatar items that bring custom animation to your Friends channel
· Top Brands: Adidas, Quiksilver, Roxy, tokidoki
· Unique Fashions: Steampunk, Recessionista
· Your Favorite Games: “BioShock 2,” “Halo 3,” “Halo 3: ODST,” “Gears of War 2,” “Fable II,” “The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition,” “Splinter Cell Conviction,” “Star Wars Clone The Wars: Republic Heroes.”
Whether you’re an athlete, an artist, or an all-out gaming fanatic, you can express your (and your Avatar’s) online personality like never before. You can also earn special Avatar clothes and items just by playing your favorite games, starting with a hot logo t-shirt from “Splosion Man,” the hit Xbox LIVE Arcade title that kicked-off off the 2nd annual Summer of Arcade.
Full Xbox 360 games at the push of a button
It’s safe to say August 11 will go down in the Avatar history books (albeit teeny tiny history books), but it will also be a landmark day for gamers with the introduction of a brand new way to access and play your Xbox 360 games: Games on Demand. Launching worldwide with a library of 30 great titles, Games on Demand marks the introduction of digitally distributed full Xbox 360 games: the titles you want, whenever you want them, straight to your Xbox 360 at the push of a button. You’ll also have the option to easily purchase Games on Demand titles directly via credit card in addition to Microsoft Points, which are now more convenient than ever thanks to PayPal support on the Xbox.com Web marketplace.
From Platinum Hits titles like “Mass Effect,” “BioShock” and “Assassin’s Creed,” to family favorites like “LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga” and “Sonic the Hedgehog,” Games on Demand gives you access to a growing catalog of full Xbox 360 titles. You can browse and download 24 x7 from the comfort of your couch, and new titles will be released every Tuesday. Your purchase history is always saved, so you can delete titles if needed and re-download purchased titles at any time.
Check out our U.S. line-up at launch:
-Assassin's Creed (Ubisoft) -LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (LucasArts) -Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft) -BioShock (2K Games) -Mass Effect (Microsoft Game Studios) -ridge racer 6 (Namco) -Burnout Paradise (EA) -Meet The Robinsons (Disney) -Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis (Rockstar Games) -Call of Duty® 2 (Activision) -MX vs. ATV Untamed (THQ) -SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (SEGA) -Dance Dance Revolution Universe (Konami) -Need for Speed Carbon (EA) -TEST DRIVE: UNLIMITED (Atari) -Fight Night Round 3 (EA) -Need for Speed: Most Wanted (EA) -The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2K Games/Bethesda Softworks) -Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios) -Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios) -Viva Piñata (Microsoft Game Studios) -Karaoke Revolution American Idol Encore (Konami) -Prey (2K Games) -Viva Piñata 2: Trouble in Paradise (Microsoft Game Studios)
Movie night on Xbox LIVE
Since its release last November, the Netflix application has been downloaded by more than a million Xbox LIVE Gold members who have combined to watch billions of minutes worth of movies and TV episodes streamed instantly over Xbox LIVE. In fact, according to market research firm In-Stat, game consoles are the most popular devices for bringing Web-based videos to the TV.
Now we’re ratcheting it up a notch. For the first time on any device you can update your Netflix instant Queue right from your television – no computer necessary. Browse, choose and jump right into a custom selection of movies and TV shows from your most-watched genres, whether they’re comedy, action, horror…even a tear-jerking chick flick (yes, on Xbox 360!). There are thousands to chose from, many in HD.
Once you’ve made your choice, watch it with friends in your own personal at-home movie theater, with your Avatars in the front row. Xbox LIVE Movie Parties let you share a movie with friends and family in the same room or across the country. Chat about your favorite scenes, smack-talk the lame special effects, or laugh together as your Avatars throw popcorn during the show. You can even cozy up and flirt with that special someone’s Avatar – it’s a brand new way to spice up a long-distance relationship, no airfare or movie tickets required.
No more hide and seek
Finally, we all know that the devil’s in the details, and organization can be a pain. Now you can view, find and arrange your content on Xbox LIVE the way you want. Want to send a specific friend a message? Sort your friends list by Gamertag, status and even activity, so you can easily find the friends you want. There are also new options for viewing your Achievements and progress, improved matchmaking support and more.
Best of all, you can now rate every single piece of game content on Xbox LIVE Marketplace using a five star system. Support your favorite Arcade game with a five star rating, or find the top-rated titles in the newly-updated Indie Games channel – it’s never been easier to find the best and most beloved games, demos and trailers on Xbox LIVE.
Just the beginning…
So there you have it, the new Xbox LIVE update: fresh ways to watch movies, play games, and connect with friends or friendly rivals anywhere in the world. It’s another step toward realizing the Xbox 360 promise of entertainment for everyone, and another reason why Xbox LIVE is hands down the best entertainment value in your living room. But there’s so much more to come.
This fall, we’re bringing a whole new wave of partnerships and custom features straight to your Xbox 360 – instant-on 1080p streaming video with 5.1 audio from Zune, personalized digital radio stations from Last.fm, and the biggest forces in social networking: Facebook and Twitter.
In the meantime, throw a movie party, give your Avatar a little street cred, or download that best-selling Xbox 360 game you’ve been meaning to pick up. Sit back, relax and enjoy, and stay tuned for the next evolution in connected entertainment, courtesy of Xbox LIVE.
UPDATE:Games on Demand launches today and includes LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. You can also now dress up your Xbox 360 Avatar with some Star Wars swag. Good times!