I admit it - I like anayzing the sources of information different applications use on various networks. The Xbox Live application works with various information, including game metadata to show featured Xbox Live titles.
Let's take a deeper look at what the Xbox Live application is accesing through the HTTP channel. Apparently, we get the following steps:
1. Getting the list of featured applications
I am not entirely sure what is the reasoning to get the list of featured applications when those are never displayed, but let's assume that it is a part of a Zune Marketplace request that, even if unnecessary, has to be done. It is a regular API request - similar to those I documented as a part of the Zune Data Viewer project.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Featured applications are not the same as featured games - those are not included in this list.
2. Getting the list of featured games
Yet another application/uix list, and yet - it is not the list used for displaying the list of featured XBL titles.
3. Getting the list of featured music items
Another request that is not necessary in the Xbox Live application, but yet again confirms my assumption that these requests are a part of a standard internal Zune API call.
4. Getting list of featured XBL titles
Not used in the app itself, but is available in the Marketplace.
5. Getting the list of top XBL titles (by download rank) - paid only
Although 10 titles are retrieved, only 4 are displayed in the XBL app. No free items will be displayed here - it is obvious why, but you should also know that XBL titles usually come with a free trial version.
6. Getting images for featured content
Images are downloaded for all content, even if it is not displayed in the XBL application.
Although connected to the Marketplace, it seems like a lot of content is redundant and is using the data connection unnecessarily - after all, given that I am in the XBL application does not mean that I am going to be working with the Marketplace.