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Microsoft Xbox Live update today gets set for Kinect

Xbox Live is getting Kinected with an update to its avatars and user interface ahead of the motion-control system's big launch this month.

Xbox Live is gearing up for Kinect with an update today. The traditional November update for the Xbox 360 sees new-look avatars, a revamped dashboard and support for the arm-waving Kinect motion-control system, which goes on sale this month.

The user interface for the dashboard and Xbox Live Marketplace have been revamped -- tabs are now white instead of green. But the most obvious change is avatars have a new look.

The restyled avatars are part of Kinect support. The cartoonish look has been toned down slightly, with trimmer bodies and a more realistically proportioned head, ready for you to take control of your avatar in Kinect games. The avatar editor has also been tweaked.

Kinect will allow you to navigate the dashboard menus as well as play games. A Kinect kit will cost £130, while new Xboxers can get an Xbox 360 Slim with Kinect for £250. The arm-waving system launches on 10 November as it takes on the Wii and PlayStation Move in a motion-controlled Christmas showdown.

Other changes include improved audio, gamertag suggestions, and better browsing of completed games. Non-gaming services new to the dashboard include Zune music streaming and sporting action from ESPN, according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.

Xbox Live has 25 million users worldwide, logging a gobsmacking 1 billion hours on the service every month. This month the service will launch in nine new countries, including Russia, Poland, Brazil and South Africa.

The mandatory update rolls out today to Xbox owners. It'll close Xbox Live as it updates but should only take 5 to 10 minutes. First chance you get, fire up the new dashboard and let us know what you think. Are you excited about Kinect?