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Cloud Storage

Anyone who likes to play on a friend's Xbox 360 or who owns more than one console knows how difficult it can be to transport your Gamertag and associated profile. While you can carry around a USB stick with your profile on it and plug it into the new console you want to use, you're out of luck if you misplace or forget the stick or if it becomes corrupted. While you can go through the Gamertag recovery process, that's both slow and removes your information from the console it was previously on. Luckily, this new Xbox LIVE cloud update addresses that problem and more.

The cloud storage feature will allow you to access your Gamertag and profile at any time from any Xbox 360 console that has Xbox LIVE. As a bonus, you can also store your game saves in the cloud, so those will also be accessible when you're not on your primary console. Because all this data is stored online, the cloud service also works great as a backup in case something happens to your console's storage or the console itself.

Expanded Media Content

While the Xbox 360 already has a great selection of media services, which include ESPN, Hulu Plus, Last.fm, Netflix, and Zune (which recently lowered its monthly subscription price), the list will soon explode. Some of the upcoming media services for the Xbox 360 include Bravo, CinemaNow, Crackle, Dailymotion, EPIX, HBO Go, iHeartRadio, Manga Entertainment, MSN with MSNBC, Syfy, TMZ, The Today Show, UFC, Verizon FiOS TV, VEVO, Xfinty On Demand, and YouTube.

While all these services require an Xbox LIVE Gold membership and may have additional subscription requirements, such as being a Comcast customer for Xfinity On Demand or an HBO subscriber for HBO Go, the range of choices is still extremely impressive. Microsoft has made it clear that this is just the beginning, so we could very well see even more exciting new content deals announced in the coming months.

Summary

For Xbox 360 fans, the holiday 2011 update, which is rumored to come out in November, can't come soon enough. If the updates only include what was described here, it would be impressive, but there are even more features and performance improvements coming that have yet to be announced.

Combine these with the usual holiday release of new games and accessories, such as the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel or a new version of the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset, and it's clear that some of the Xbox 360's best years are still ahead of it.

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