Beginning today, Xbox LIVE, the most popular online gaming network now works with Windows Live Messenger on the Xbox 360. We knew this was coming, but this is exciting news nonetheless. Now you can VoIP or IM your XBox gamer buddies as well as your non-gaming Windows Live Messenger buddies. I wonder if Yahoo Messenger users will be able to communicate as well, since Microsoft and Yahoo have an IM federation pact. That would give XBox users access to over 350 million user accounts. Still waiting for them to interoperate with VoIP though. In any event, Windows Live Messenger will be installed on XBox 360s as part of the Xbox 360 Spring Update, which will connect people across Xbox 360 consoles, Windows PCs and Windows Mobile devices. According to the Microsoft employees' Gamerscoreblog:
Xbox LIVE members will be able to socialize with people on their unified friends list, including their contacts from the more than 260 million Windows Live Messengers across the world. With Instant Messenger, Xbox LIVE members will have the ability to:
- Chat via instant messenger with up to 20 contacts in a single conversation, and have up to six different conversations at the same time with people on PCs, mobile phones and other Xbox 360 consoles.
- Instant message while playing games, listening to music or watching movies or TV shows downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- View at a glance if friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags and add them to a unified friends list.
- Utilize the virtual keyboard on the Xbox 360 to text chat or connect a USB keyboard to the console. Launching later this summer, the Xbox 360 text-input device accessory will connect directly to the controller to support instant messaging.
- The ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind video as it is being downloaded on Xbox LIVE Marketplace
- Owners can now set their consoles to turn off after downloading content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace to help save energy, and download speeds have been increased.