I'm kind of late in saying this, however, it does appear that Microsoft Xbox corrected one of my major complaints with Rally Sport Challenge 2. They've made it so that when racing against four people (not wire framed), you can *ALL* talk to one another.
I would have figured that this was something that couldn't have been corrected since it's part of the game itself. Just goes to show you how much they can actually modify the game. What's even more interested is how exactly do they accomplish their patching system. Considering how much there is to the games these days (judging by the size of the executables on the PC), the time it takes to patch really isn't all that time consuming and, more importantly, is so streamlined. You start up the game on Xbox Live and it notifies you that you must upgrade in order to continue playing. You accept and then the updates system processes for a few moments and, vualla, your playing the update. It works every time and is 100% consistent across all Xbox Live games. Well, maybe not 100% consistent, some of the games restart a little different... some at the very beginning of all the “splash” screens; which can be somewhat annoying.
Although the Xbox Live update system is pretty slick, why is it that I have to presented with an update is available at all? Why doesn't it look through my saved games and automatically trickle download those updates while I'm playing some other game. Oh, you may say that this would hinder the network performance of those games. Fine, my response would be then to BITS those downloads while playing Xbox Live aware games while they aren't actually doing networked games. Many new games today support Xbox Live features for presence information. For example, while playing Fable or Prince of Persia, which only have limited Xbox Live features... it could be downloading updates (including free content) for Rainbow Six 3 and Project Gotham Racing 2 if the saved games / profiles exist for those games. This way, when I jump onto those games... I would never see an update. Also... it would allow the Xbox Live console to let you know that new content has been downloaded for those games allowing you, as the gamer, to see this new content and choose to put that game into the console to check things out... which would improve the replay value of those older games and make those updates that much more valuable to the end consumer and, more importantly, to the game developer. The game developer would have the benefit of knowing that those that have the game would be notified of the update... even if they aren't playing that game right now.
On a different note: I know that Microsoft is making progress in the deployment arena coming in Visual Studio 2005; but I wonder how close will it be to the user friendliness of the Xbox Live update system will it be?