Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360
Redmond , Washington —Your Xbox LIVE® friends list is about to get a whole lot bigger. Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Windows LIVE™ Messenger on Xbox 360™, connecting friends across Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft® Windows®-based PCs and Windows Mobile®-powered devices.
Chat with your friends via Live Messenger.
With this update to Xbox 360, friends and families can easily connect and chat directly from their television using Windows Live Messenger, a network of more than 20 billion relationships and more than 260 million active accounts.
"Xbox LIVE has really become the
largest social network on television."
—Jerry Johnson, Microsoft
Beginning the week of May 7, 2007, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will provide Xbox 360 owners worldwide with access to Windows Live Messenger features, broadening the communication options on the Xbox LIVE social network.
Members of the six-million-strong Xbox LIVE community currently send more than two million text and voice messages a day and can now use Windows Live Messenger to text chat with up to six people on their contact list at one time, while playing games, listening to music, or watching movies. Text chat adds to the variety of options friends and families already have to communicate with on Xbox LIVE, including voice and video chat.
Current relationships on Windows Live Messenger and Xbox LIVE will be unified on Xbox 360 and users will see at a glance if their existing friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags, instantly expanding the breadth of connected experiences they can share online.
"Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television," said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. "For our growing community of six million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music, and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice, and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360."
Know instantly which achievement you accomplished.
Beginning the week of May 7, users of Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360 can text chat using the virtual keyboard accessible on Xbox 360, or by connecting a USB keyboard to the console. This summer Microsoft will launch a QWERTY text-input device, a new accessory that will connect directly into the Xbox 360 controller to support text and instant messaging.
Other New Features
Beyond Windows Live Messenger, the Spring Update for Xbox 360 includes hundreds of new features and enhancements including:
- 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.
- Expanded "Tell a Friend" capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.
- A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox LIVE Arcade games.
- New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.
The Spring Update is free beginning the week of May 7 and will be easily accessible to every Xbox 360 owner through Xbox LIVE or on Xbox.com.
You may not even notice all the new features, but they are all designed to enhance your Xbox LIVE experience. Some of the other features in this upgrade include:
- The name of game in tray is now displayed in the dashboard.
- When the user is in the dashboard and an Xbox 360 game is in the console then the name of the game is displayed in the tray icon of the dashboard. If the user highlights the tray icon then achievements and gamer score are displayed for that game based on the signed in user. Xbox1 games show the name and image of the game.
- Integrated support for the new Xbox 360 text input device. Note that this device includes a new wired headset.
- Playback progress bar indicates download completion.
- Switchable aspect ratio now available during video playback (Auto to Letterbox, Zoom, Stretch, Native).
- Player and friends lists now quickly show session presence information for quick identification of users that are joinable.
- Added H.264 video support: Up to 10 Mbps peak, Baseline, Main, and High profiles with 2 channel AAC LC.
- Added MPEG-4 Part 2 video support: Up to 5 Mbps peak, Simple Profile with 2 channel AAC LC.
- Show folder hierarchy for video content played from all devices.
- Bookmarks are stored for each video that the user plays remembering the users last location in the file as well as the aspect ratio that the user choose for that file.
- Video trick modes (fast forward, rewind, chapter skip) can now be used while downloading Video Marketplace content.
- Skip forward and backward functionality has been improved to skip to the next or previous chapter. Each video is divided into 10 “chapters” allowing you to quickly skip around video content.
- The information bar that is turned on via the On Screen Display (OSD) now shows you exactly where you are in the playback of the video file. In addition it will also show for Video Marketplace content how much of the file has been downloaded and where the “chapters” exist in the file.
- Windows Media protected content (WM-DRM) can now be streamed from the PC to the console. If the WM-DRM license is missing or corrupted then a specific error message is displayed to the user. Bookmarking is also stored for protected content.
- When a user selects an item for download from Marketplace then the system will determine if there is sufficient disk space for the item and, if not, will ask the user to delete content on the HDD. The system provides a sorted by size list of videos, game trailers, demos and arcade content to aid the user in the deletion process. The same list of items are also available from within memory so that users can quickly see which items are consuming the most disk space.
- The console will block the user who attempts to download content onto a storage device that will never have the capacity to store the item without deducting any points associated with the content item.
- The screensaver is disabled when playing photos from any source