A software update for Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console will add support for Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm
The update, which will be delivered to Xbox 360 users on Nov 17, will enable subscribers to Microsoft's online gaming portal, Xbox Live, to update their Facebook status, send tweets or listen to their favourite songs directly through their console.
"We've already seen a tremendous response to these features in our public preview," said Marc Whitten, general manager of the Xbox Live platform.
"We're delivering some truly exciting social entertainment experiences to our members. Xbox Live's differentiator has always been our community. It's the community that drives us forward and allows us to pioneer new ways of connecting people through the entertainment they love."
Users of the new services will require an Xbox Live Gold account, which costs around £40 for a year's subscription. The integrated Facebook app will allow users to add and remove friends, view and update their status, and browse news feeds, photos and messages. The Twitter tool will enable people to post updates and watch a live "twitterstream" from the people they follow. Integration with online music-streaming service Last.fm will give users the opportunity to create their own custom 'radio stations' and playlists, and share these with friends.
Microsoft will hope the roll-out of its new social media services goes more smoothly than the recent launch of Sky Player on the Xbox 360 platform. The satellite service, which allows users to watch live channels and catch-up on missed shows through their console, went live days later than scheduled. Microsoft blamed the technical problems and delays on "overwhelming demand".
Partnerships with Sky and social media sites mark an increasingly consumer focused strategy from Microsoft as it seeks to make its Xbox 360 console the main “entertainment hub” in the family home. Users are already able to download movies through their console and play games against one another online. There are more than 10 million Xbox 360 owners across Europe.