Xbox Live Adds Instant Messaging

    April 9, 2007

When the Xbox 360 spring update hits in early May, Xbox Live users will be able to send instant messages to others using the service, as well as any friends that utilize Windows Live Messenger on their PCs or mobile devices.

Xbox Live Adds Instant Messaging
Xbox Live Adds Instant Messaging
Xbox Live Adds Instant Messaging

Chalk up another function for the Xbox 360. Users can already play games, watch movies, listen to music online, video chat, and voice chat. Now, you can add instant messaging to the list of features, which yet again is indicative of Microsoft’s efforts to transform its video game console into a complete media center.

For the time being, users will be able to chat either by making use of the virtual keyboard within the Xbox 360’s software or by connecting a USB keyboard to the console. Microsoft has plans to eventually release a QWERTY input device that will connect via one of the controller ports.

As the console wars continue to rage, the battle looks to be shifting from the realm of video games to supplemental applications and services. Microsoft’s plan, which seems to be a good one, is to offers users an all-in-one media solution with the Xbox.

With the Wii’s sheer fun factor and the 360’s versatility, it looks like the Playstation 3 will be left out of the cold when it comes to this generation’s consoles.

Microsoft believes that with initiatives such as these it can turn the Xbox 360 into a giant social network. With all the different ways that its nearly six million users can interact with each other, the Xbox Live community represents a unique brand of social networking that offers users a truly versatile online experience.

“Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television,” said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft.

Maybe instead of trying to buy Facebook or some other existing social networking site to compete with MySpace, they should just focus on developing the Xbox brand into a completely immersive social/media experience.