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Published on November 18th, 2009 | by Niall


Cool but Ultimately Pointless – Social Media comes home

After all the hype in the last few weeks about Facebook and Twitter integration coming to Xbox 360 it finally happened yesterday. Today Sony has launched a firmware upgrade to 3.10, which will allow Facebook trophy and game sync support. So Microsoft’s great coup lasted all of one day? Nice.

xbox-360-facebookWell if it’s any comfort to Microsoft, Sony has yet to integrate Twitter into its firmware. It does seem to be just a matter of time though as the Twitter API is open-source. The Xbox also added Zune video, for integration with their iPod competitor, and Last.fm support. As I have a Last.fm account I might make use of this. I really won’t use the Zune Marketplace much as not having a Zune (they’re North America only), I don’t see much point. That said the Zune Marketplace is meant to be a hub for high-definition content so there may yet be a function for it.

So is Twitter on the Xbox any good? I started using it yesterday and I have to say that while it looks nice on the screen, it doesn’t show you a lot from your stream. That’s probably because if it did you’d have to position yourself about a foot from the TV. Not being in possession of a chat board for my controller I was forced to use the onscreen keyboard. However this is quite slow and laborious so I’m much more likely to pick up my phone if I feel the urgent need to tweet while playing.

The Facebook integration is good as it allows you to update your status with what you’re playing, watching, listening to. Facebook has been modified to be more like the 360’s dashboard. Standard functions like photo-viewing, friends lists, and status updates all get their own panels, and it all becomes very much like flicking through a deck of cards. Thankfully photo albums load quickly look pretty good on hi-def screens. Well anything beats crowding around a laptop to show off your snaps at home.

The Xbox 360 version of Facebook will also point out people you know that have Xbox Live accounts. Very handy indeed. The only downside is that you’ve got to quit the game or video that you’re playing and manually select the Twitter or Facebook program in order to make a status update. Microsoft will really need to work on this so as to allow online gamers ping their friends if they need back-up.

Ultimately having social media tools on a games console was a logical step. They just need to tweak it a bit more to make them usable.

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About the Author

The proverbial man lost in La Mancha. Sports aficionado and all-round scoundrel. Über-geek to boot. I run the movie website Scannain.com and can usually be found twittering away as @niallxmurphy.

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