For those of you that just can’t stand to have your IM programs and your video games on separate devices, Microsoft is here to solve your problem.
Beginning the week of May 7, 2007, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Spring Update will provide 360 owners with a version of Windows Live Messenger designed specifically for the console. However, this version of Messenger will also allow Windows-based PCs and Windows Mobile-powered devices to send and receive messages with 360 owners.
The program will be available free for Xbox Live Silver and Gold members, who will be able to text chat with up to six people on their contact list at a time while playing games, listening to music, or watching movies.
To go along with this announcement, Microsoft also announced a keyboard attachment for the Xbox 360 controller. Though not available until the summer, the accessory will connect directly to the 360 controller to support instant messaging. Those who don’t want to shell out the money for an accessory can use the virtual keyboard available on the 360.
Other new features in the Spring Update for Xbox 360 include:
- A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the Gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.
- Enhanced family settings features for Xbox Live communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.
- A new Xbox Live Marketplace blade lets Xbox Live members access the content they seek — whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States) — from one place on Xbox Live.
- Updates to Xbox Live Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox Live Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox Live members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded "Tell a Friend" capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.