Social networks are still in the process of becoming the natural hubs of our online activity. This is being further proved with the most recent addition of Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm for Microsoft’s Xbox. But Xbox Live already had limited support for web browsing and a few other native social features. Why is social network integration such a big deal? Because people spend the most of their online life on social networks and if you can bring those services into your gaming platform you can increase playing time. Hence, the more time you’re on the Xbox, the more potential Microsoft can generate revenue from you and free advertising via sharing your gaming accomplishments through such social outlets.
Through Xbox Live, Microsoft is enabling Facebook and Twitter interaction and status updates, including the ability to view others’ status updates. The Last.fm integration also means that a socially aware music streaming service has been incorporated into your Xbox gaming experience offering seamless playlist options that are far grander than what most of you have in your own iTunes library.
The added support for these social networks means that the Xbox gets to become far more social in its own right, taking the meaning of social gaming to a new level. Even though Xbox and many other game consoles had web browser support and integrated social features, there is a dedicated and cooperative effort for a more robust social experience with the new Xbox update.
With such a direct cooperative between Microsoft, Facebook and the others, Microsoft gets to increase its access points to consumers while increasing the value of its console’s gaming experience. Video games played on consoles have been historically isolating while social at the same time. The combination of the console with social networking brings a new aspect of both video gaming and social networking, of which Microsoft can take advantage.
As Microsoft has invested a great deal into Facebook, finding ways in which to utilize the social network towards its own Xbox Live initiatives means that it has a new opportunity to get consumers familiar with Microsoft as a brand. So what about the consumer end? Such integration is a feature that many gamers have been requesting for a long time. Third party services have offered their own ways in which to integrate the classic video gaming experience with what is becoming the classic social networking experience. Yet direct integration means easier operations for consumers, with the added benefit of connecting with existing and new friends through their gaming activities. This offers a new way in which gamers can connect to each other through their given area of interest.
While the presence of direct integration with social networks on Xbox Live’s platform means that third party services may lose their potential for gaining or retaining users, there is still some room to grow. Limited interaction options for shared links on Xbox’s newly supported social networks emphasizes the drawbacks of this cooperative effort. Regardless, the potential Microsoft and other game console manufacturers have when it comes to social network integration and aggregating a more fluid experience beyond mere gaming or social networking alone is very attractive.If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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