Social Gaming Hitting A New Level

Xbox LiveLast week, Microsoft rolled out a new update to its Xbox 360 dashboard. Among other changes, the update added Twitter and Facebook functionality to “Gold” users of its service. CNET tells us that “millions” are already using these new services.

The new add-ons allow users to do the usual things that you would expect to do with Twitter and Facebook – browse profiles, tweet, etc, but they also do one very important and very powerful thing, too:

They allow you to see which of your friends on these services are using Xbox Live.

Why is this a big deal? Because, if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of logging on to spend a few minutes playing your favourite game online and being confronted with a bunch of kids yelling vile insults at you. Thanks to those types, I rarely (read: never) play online with people I don’t know.

The problem with that philosophy, though, is that it can be hard to find which of your friends uses the Xbox Live service, leaving the online experience feeling somewhat empty. With these new features, you can scan your Twitter follower and Facebook friends lists to find your fellow gamers, and quickly and easily connect to them.

It’s another step in the merging of social media and social networking into the things we already do online.

  • Mass media websites have incorporated social media tools such as RSS and commenting for a while;
  • Movie producers have used social media features during movie and DVD launches (Fight Club is a great example);
  • Now, social media is further encroaching on one of the largest entertainment industries around – computer gaming.

My bet: in a couple of years, this kind of feature will be so ingrained that people won’t think of it as a “social media” feature – it’ll just be a given when they turn on their console.

What do you think?

5 comments
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Rich Weaver
Rich Weaver

Been preaching a merging of technology and entertainment since before 1993. ( I was a computer animation/multimedia student @ time) My friends would roll their eyes every time my litany of "oh one day it will all merge; movies, games, TV, internet, etc...." their not rolling their eyes now.

Love the site by the way, insightful. Kudos! on the minimalist design. Nice and clean. Do you follow zenhabits.(net) I highly recommend them, minimalist is an understatement there. HA!

Have a great weekend.

Eric Portelance
Eric Portelance

The friend feature is definitely one of the best parts about this service.

However, my quick tests found its general usability as an actual Twitter or Facebook client lacking. First off - unless you have the keyboard add on, forget about it. Too painful to type out even 140 characters using the D-pad. Secondly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to view @replies, etc. I found myself getting up and going to my computer to type a reply.

I guess it’s a nice way to quickly glance at the stream and latest updates, but definitely not a go-to kind of thing.

Gary Edgar
Gary Edgar

I actually cancelled my Gold membership last year for the exact reason you described. So many kids hurling insults and racism around made it impossible to have a good time.

The fact that I can now meet up with my Twitter/Facebook friends online to play video games might entice me back.

PS - when do you have time to play video games? ;)

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Usually between midnight and 1am :)

Patrice Cloutier
Patrice Cloutier

Hello Dave ! You probably also heard about New York State using XBOX Live for distributing emergency messages during crises/disasters/emergencies ...

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