Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360

Windows Live Messenger services are set to expand onto TVs by joining forces with Xbox Live. This enables Xbox 360 users to connect with more than 260 million instant messenger users spread across PCs and Windows Mobile-powered devices (PDAs, phones…).

(Press Release excerpt)
Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360, Expanding the Largest Social Network on Television
Xbox 360 owners can connect with more than 260 million Windows Live Messenger users on Xbox 360, Windows-based PCs and Windows Mobile-powered devices beginning the week of May 7.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 8, 2007 — 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. 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.

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 6 million-strong Xbox LIVE community currently send more than 2 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 6 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.”

Beginning the week of May 7, users of Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360 will 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.

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