The best online service in the home console market is getting even better. Microsoft is upgrading the Xbox Live service for the Xbox 360 with improved features, new implementations and added social networking. Here is a breakdown of the what will be in the new Xbox Live.
Although it was announced last year, Live Party is finally close to coming out. This cool feature allows you to simultaneously watch movies over Xbox Live with friends without having to get together.
Watching videos will also be significantly improved for Xbox Live of Xbox 360. Certain European countries will be able to watch live TV via Sky News. Furthermore, users can also organize their Netflix queue directly on the Xbox 360. Finally, Microsoft is planning to offer full 1080p videos.
The massive social networking website is being implemented directly into Xbox Live. You will be able to access all the content on your account directly from the dashboard of the Xbox 360. Pretty much everything you can do on the PC can be done on Facebook for the Xbox 360. Moreover, you can take pictures of you playing Xbox 360 games and share the photos with your friends via Facebook Connect.
The popular music community website (especially for independent artists), Last.fm, is also being implanted into Xbox Live. Users are able to listen to their favorite tracks from the website without the need of a computer. It is unknown whether or not the new feature will support custom soundtracks, which would let you listen to Last.fm while playing a video game.
Microsoft isn’t forgetting about the biggest competitor to Facebook either. In the past year, Twitter blew up in popularity so much that even businesses are utilizing it to make announcements. The so-called “micro-blogging” application is now invading the Xbox Live. Users can “tweet” and get updates from others while playing the Xbox 360 when it is connected to the Internet.
While users still need to pay for the gold subscription in order to take full advantage of Xbox Live, it is hard to argue against all the new and improved features added. Not to mention that Xbox Live is already features-packed with Netflix integration, cross-game voice chat and many other goodies.
The $49.99 a year price tag is well worth the money for Xbox Live for now and the future. Don’t expect the price to change anytime soon unless Sony or Nintendo miraculously come up with an online service that can outclass this expanding service.