This generation of consoles has changed the definition of the home-gaming machine. Whether it’s streaming movies, chatting with your friends across the world, or getting the latest weather forecast, consoles do more than ever before. In a recent interview with Fast Company
, Microsoft VP of strategy and business development Shane Kim discussed the importance of extending the functionality of consoles:
"We are expanding beyond the base that we established with gaming and multiplayer gaming on Live by adding more entertainment options–last.fm, instant-on 1080p HD streaming video, the Netflix partnership, etc. — but we also want to help people connect to their friends. It’s important that Xbox Live is not viewed as an island, but something that integrates well with other social networks — so Facebook and Twitter integration is very important–as well as making sure that you can get to the entertainment you care about, either within your own home or through services like last.fm, Netflix, or the Zune video service. It’s part of a very deliberate strategy and you’ll see us continue to do more in the social and entertainment spaces."
The upcoming additions to the Xbox 360 are extremely interesting. While some hardcore gamers might scoff at them, they’re fun and useful for millions. I love streaming Internet radio that’s recommendation based and I’m sure people will love last.fm integration (though I would have preferred Pandora). I use Facebook and Twitter (follow me!
) for work and play; having them on my Xbox 360 adds reasons not to leave the system — I’m sure the same holds true for many gamers. While purists long for the days of consoles only being game machines, I’m totally digging that they’ve evolved to versatile entertainment systems.
How about you? Are you looking forward to features like last.fm, Facebook, and Twitter on your Xbox 360? Or do you hate what consoles are becoming and wish the console manufacturers would focus all of their attention on games?