New Xbox Experience Currently Missing My Second Favorite Dashboard Feature

November’s New Xbox Experience mandatory firmware upgrade may add many handy options to the Xbox 360 console, but contrary to early reports from E3, it doesn’t quite retain all the functionality of the original 360 dashboard.

While messing around with the New Xbox Experience on my home 360 last week, I had trouble finding my second favorite feature from the old dashboard: Xbox Live Arcade auto-downloading.

That feature allowed me to set my 360 to download demos of every new XBLA game any time I entered my XBLA games library and there was new content available. I was a big fan of the feature, because it enabled new games to come to me rather than me having to know about them and seek them out. Auto-downloading is not in the NXE.

When I was given a demo of NXE last week, I mentioned that I liked auto-downloading almost as much as I liked spying on the gaming habits of my friends on my buddy list. Microsoft v.p. John Schappert turned to me and said, “You actually use that?” He would know better than me how popular it is.

Yesterday, a Microsoft rep confirmed to me that the feature “is disabled for the NXE launch,” but added that “it may come back in a future release.”

Hours after that meeting with Schappert I got NXE on my own console and, while I still haven’t had time to try all its features, like Netflix, my impressions have otherwise been favorable. But I want auto-downloading back. Do you?

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