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Xbox 360 updates at E3: Rock, roll and Final Fantasy XIII

It's a good time to own an Xbox 360. As long as yours isn't flashing red lights, you can take advantage of a new dashboard interface, new pretend music games and even play the new Final Fantasy game

Crave has always enjoyed having our sight spheres bathed in the luxuriant glow from a high-definition television connected to an Xbox 360. We're especially googley-eyed over the news from E3, with Microsoft bringing us exciting updates to the beloved Xbox Live.

Firstly, a new dashboard design is imminent. The new style looks totally different to the existing dashboard, so it's lucky that most gamers are reasonably young and thus able to cope with such jarring change. In the new version, you'll even be able to create your own avatars who can then meet up with your friend's avatars. It's a very Nintendo-esque addition to the Xbox, but hopefully one that doesn't involve those clunky Wii ID numbers.

Of course, no games console would be complete without more 'pretend musician' games. Xbox 360 users will soon be blessed with Guitar Hero World Tour, in which musical wannabes can play against eight other teams to see who's the best at not playing music. The other big news is that all the equipment will be wireless and no doubt costing several hundred pounds.

Not to be left out in the battle of the plastic bands, Harmonix introduced the exciting new features coming to Rock Band. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be an option within its game to trash your dressing room or have your eyeballs injected with vodka. Nor, it seems, is there an option to start legal proceedings against people illegally downloading your fake music or bully them with letters sent via their virtual ISP.

Microsoft also announced an increased selection of arcade games, including a follow up to the massively popular Portal called Portal: Still Alive. Clearly, MS is hoping that people will increasing buy games online instead of venturing out to the shops where all the dangerous non-geeks wander free.

In the agoraphobic vein, it announced a deal with US movie service Netflix to make movies available digitally via the 360. Of course, you have to live in the US to make use of that, but here's hoping that it does a similar deal with Lovefilm in the UK.

By far the biggest news of the event -- and very probably most events this year that aren't hosted by a man in a black roll-neck -- is that Final Fantasy XIII will be coming to the Xbox 360. This is excellent news for fans of the genre who don't want to invest in a PS3 and terrible news for Sony: it must now be offering the Metal Gear Solid publishers huge sums of money not to jump out of the boat of exclusivity. Let's just hope our Xbox doesn't start flashing red lights before FFXIII gets here.