The Xbox 360 Fall Update 2007 is now available for all Xbox Live users. As advertised, Xbox Live accounts for users 18 and older are now visible to friends of friends. Users between age 13 and 18 are only visible to those who already have them on their friends list. Those ages 12 or younger are completely invisible to others’ lists.
The new Fall Update also better organizes the content available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Through the new "Game Store" and "Video Store" sections, which are designed similarly to the Zune interface, users will be able to find content related to their game of interest. Not only is this better for the user looking for downloads, but also increases the focused exposure for Microsoft and partners in selling DLC.
Those who missed out on some of the original Xbox classic titles may catch up for a 1,200 Microsoft Points download. To celebrate the re-release of such modern classics as Halo and Psychonauts, various gamerpics and themes related to Xbox Originals titles are available for free. Some are reporting vastly improved loading times with games such as Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, possibly due to the game being stored on the hard drive instead of optical media.
One improvement that wasn’t made explicit in Microsoft’s prior announcements was the dramatic increase in navigation speed throughout the various “blades” of the Xbox 360 interface. Not only is flipping through each menu much quicker, but prior instances of wait-time when loading content off the hard disk drive is noticeably reduced.
The biggest improvement of all for many Xbox 360 users, however, is the added support for MPEG-4 Part 2 video codec support, most popularly implemented in DivX and Xvid videos. Videos packaged in an AVI container encoded in either simple profile or advanced simple profile should play in their full glory on the Xbox 360 – and from preliminary tests, it works as expected.
Optical media burned with encoded video files show up as a "Mixed Media Disc," which is explored through the Xbox 360’s media blade. Upon first play of a specific type of video file, users may be prompted to download an optional media update for expanded codec support.