Nerdy Stuff, Social Media

XBOX gets social media-fied with Facebook, Twitter, and

Last week as part of XBOX Live’s update preview program, we (and by we I mean my wonderful gamer boyfriend) got an early upgrade to the newest version of XBOX Live – which is chock full of features like social media integration with Facebook, Twitter, and Last.Fm … and streaming content from New Yorker cartoons, Dilbert, and MSNBC. All the new features live in the new “Community” tab – which also includes events hosted by XBOX that previously appeared randomly on the home screen, but didn’t have a single place to “live.”

It’s interesting to see how Facebook, Twitter, and translate to the XBOX platform (which doesn’t have a web browser or full keyboard). Below is an overview (with lots of pictures) and my opinions on the features:


Overview: Facebook seems very unnatural on XBOX. The interface is clumsy, the content is limited to text and photos, and typing comments or status update is difficult using the controller with no keyboard.

Score: C-

Features (click for larger view):

Dashboard – The left panel rotates the latest updates from friends and pages, middle is your latest status and avatar, clicking the right panel takes you to the latest photos posted from friends and pages.

xbox live facebook dashboard

Individual status update – Clicking on a status update gives you the option to Like it or Comment.

XBOX LIve Facebook status

Friends Tab – The Friends tab lets you look at a friends list, and find Facebook friends who are on XBOX Live or XBOX Live friends who are on Facebook.

XBOX Live Facebook find friends


Overview: The big disappointments here are #1. profiles are extremely bland (I would love to see at least the text bio) and #2.  links (including twitpics) aren’t clickable because XBOX has no web browsing tool. Other than those major missing features, I like the Twitter interface. The live updating is slick and the content is short enough to digest on screen – unlike Facebook. Even typing out new tweets is not terrible because of the 140 character limit.

I would like to see a character countdown on the create new tweet screen – currently it’s the standard XBOX keyboard and an open field with a note that effectively says “remember to keep it to 140.”

Score: B-

Features (click for larger view):

Dashboard – The dashboard shows the stream from the people you follow, your latest tweet at the top, and has options (in the lower left corner) to update your status, search, or browse trending topics.

XBOX live feature preview Twitter dashboard

Search – Search results display just like the dashboard, updating live as tweets get posted.

xbox live feature preview twitter search

Individual Tweet – Tweet with links to Reply, Favorite, User’s Profile.

XBOX Live feature preview Twitter profile


Overview: I don’t just say this because I am a huge fan, I promise. is far and away the most useful and coolest addition to the XBOX Live platform in the new set of updates. Essentially, you can listen to’s “radio stations” based on various aspects of your profile – listen to your entire library (every song you’ve ever scrobbled), any one of your top artists, your top tags (i.e. British pop), etc. etc. This is the one application of the three that actually makes sense on your TV (that is probably set up to some kind of sound system), instead of turning around to use the laptop with full keyboard sitting on my coffee table.

The application seems perfect for parties, background music while you’re cleaning the house, etc. The one thing it does not do (that’s keeping it from getting an A) is play in the background while you’re doing other things on XBOX – this feature is available if streaming from the Windows Media Player application of any computer on your network.

Score: B+

Features (click for larger view):

Listening to your radio station – Songs play randomly from everything you’ve scrobbled on, and shows a slideshow of user submitted images of the artist in the background of each song. Buttons for info, love, skip, and stop are available at the bottom of the screen.

XBOX Live Feature Preview

Stations List – Choose tab for Popular stations, your Tags, Your Top Artists, Gamer stations, etc. and then choose an artist within that category to listen to that artist’s station.

xbox live feature preview popular stations

Artist Profile – Clicking info on an artist (from within top artists or on a track), artist profile shows photos, biography, similar artists, and tags.

xbox live feature preview artist profile

Other features – Dilbert, New Yorker, & MSNBC

Overview: I don’t know many hard core gamers who read the New Yorker. I don’t say that to patronize, but to question the relevance of the content to the audience. It’s a fine enough interface (eventually it would be cool to show recommended content based on what someone is watching), but I don’t see it going far until XBOX expands to more content types.

Features (click for larger view):

Browse Latest – The cartoons and news stories show up in panels with the newest first. Clicking on one opens the cartoon (which is animated) or story (a short video clip) in an MSN player.

xbox live features preview dilbert

The MSN video player

xbox live features preview new yorker


gamertag qcaitThe bottom line

For the most part these features are more difficult to use on an XBOX than on a computer, but they lay a strong foundation for what is possible on a gaming platform by integrating social media. And it’s an exciting foundation!

Are you on XBOX Live? Add me as a friend! My gamertag is qcait!

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