The Xbox 360 has changed since its launch in 2005.

That much is transparently clear from the updated version that debuted in 2010.

The Xbox 360 S is smaller, sleeker and quieter than the previous model and designed to banish the infamous 'Red Ring of Death' hardware failure that forced Microsoft to extend its warranty on the system.

Likewise the arrival of Kinect, which has gone on to sell over 10 million units, has transformed the machine from solely the preserve of hardcore gamers to a casual gamer friendly environment.

While some of the novelty of Kinect may have worn off, if anything the games are improving – finding new ways to take advantage of what is still fascinating technology.

But Microsoft is and always has been a software company first and foremost and, fittingly, that's where the Xbox 360 has changed the most. The NXE update of 2008 binned the old 'blades' system for an interface that was more welcoming to multimedia content and 2011 has seen another major update to the console's operating system. One so substantial, we've felt it necessary to update this review to reflect what a different machine it is.

Whether it's the old model or the new one, the Xbox 360 has now comprehensively changed from a machine primarily about playing games, with a modest selection of online content attached, to a fully featured entertainment and media hub.

new xbox 360 dashboard

The majority of forms of digital entertainment are catered for, there are extensive social networking features available and a new TV tab aims to replace traditional digital boxes with IPTV and catch up services.

The new dashboard, based around the Metro design language that also features in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7, is a far busier interface, but it's reflective of the huge amounts of content now available within the walled garden of Xbox Live.

Getting to it all has always been the challenge and Microsoft has made admirable steps towards making that a straightforward process.