Microsoft has announced that tomorrow morning at 5AM EST, and the Xbox forums will be going down. When the site comes back, it will not only have a fresh new look but some added functionality as well. For a sneak peek of what's coming, you can check out Major Nelson's Flickr stream: Update. The Xbox LIVE service is not affected by this upgrade and will remain available.

New features introduced in the redesign include:

  • Browser based Avatar editor: Edit your avatar and preview avatar items before purchase
  • Combined views for messages, friend and game requests
  • Improved notification of your account subscription
  • Leverage Family Reports to understand what your family is doing and how they are using LIVE
  • Play web games with your Xbox LIVE friends on the web or on Windows Phone 7
  • Marketplace: More powerful search and more intuitive ways to browse and filter

The most important part of this update is the closer integration between the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. A new browser-based avatar editor will definitely be nice, but Web games that you'll be able to play with your Xbox Live friends on the Web or on Windows Phone 7 is much more interesting. We'll keep an eye on this.