You officially have a reason to watch ESPN on your Xbox 360 come this fall—ESPN 2.0 is pretty goddamn awesome. Watch multiple games in HD. Pause one while keeping the other going. Stats! So many stats. And oh lord, the mini-guide with live thumbs and scores.
Confession: The only sport I give even the slightest shit about is college football. Fortunately for me, ESPN on Xbox 360 is re-launching August 25 with college football in mind.
It's still going to be showing ESPN3—so, highlights and whatever live games ESPN3 will carry—but presenting it in a dramatically reinvented fashion (the whole Xbox Avatar stadium thing has been blow away, so it feels more like real TV). For starters, you'll be able to watch two games simultaneously in 720p HD, and control them independently using a remote or Kinect voice controls. So you can pause one to focus on other, or watch replays on one side while the other game keeps playing, or however you wanna mix and match two independent games. (You could bring up the same game twice, using one screen for replays while keeping up with the game in real-time in the other.)
The way you'll find what you wanna watch is radically improved. The new mini guide shows a strip of thumbnails along the bottom half of the screen, with live score and game info laid on top of the tile, so it's not only guide to what's on, it's a guide to what's happening. There's also a live scoreboard that'll run vertically down the right side of the screen—when it launches it'll just be college football, but obviously it'll expand over time.
While there've been other attempts to let you watch tons of games and keep up with all kinds of scores simultaneously, our resident sports fanatic Casey "Bloody Toaster" Chan says, "They suck. This doesn't look sucky." The only thing really missing from the new Xbox ESPN? More ESPN—the stuff beyond just ESPN3.
I'm still pretty psyched for this interface, particularly the mini-guide, to spread to other Xbox features, particularly as Xbox moves more and more into showing live TV. The current stuff Xbox is doing is fine, but this is both super polished and super useful.
Video by Michael Werner, Editing by Woody Jang