Announced at E3 2009 by everyone’s favorite geek goddess, Felicia Day, the arrival of popular social networking sites Last.fm, Facebook, and Twitter to Xbox Live has been much anticipated by gamers and socialites alike. But these sites, as simple as they are to use, have their own style and reasons for being easy and fun to use. Did that ease of use translate well onto the Xbox? The Flickcast took a look, and here’s what we found.
After the recent addition of the News and Live Feeds on the Facebook website, Facebook on the Xbox feels pretty refreshing. It comes with all the standard Facebook staples: your News Feed, your profile, your pictures, your friend’s pictures, etc. Each new update to the News Feed comes up in its own box, and within that box you have the option to like, comment, or read the comments of your friends, just like the website.
You can update your status, but that’s the only change you can make to your profile. Friend’s profiles show up in boxes similar to the news feed, but will just show their status, photos, and information. The only thing this version of Facebook seems to be missing is wall posts and the chat feature, both of which would be complicated on the Xbox and are.
A great feature to Facebook on the Xbox is the ability to add Facebook friends to your Xbox Live friends, and vice versa. If you’ve got a friend on Xbox you’re just dying to be friends with, or a Facebook friend too shy to admit they play videogames, these features make it easy for your friends lists to stay updated.
On Xbox Live, Twitter doesn’t look too different. Your most recent tweet will be shown at the top, your friend’s 50 most recent tweets below that, and your Xbox Live avatar to the left. You’ve got the options to update your status, search for friends or topics, and view trending topics. It all looks very cool, with some cute graphics in the background and a very adorable looking bird hangs out with your avatar while you tweet.
One thing I found annoying was, while the Xbox would save my user name and password, every time I exited Twitter and then reentered the page I would have to log back in. Kind of silly, seeing as I hadn’t signed out of Xbox Live or shut down my console. What really doesn’t translate well with this move from computer to Xbox is the ability to click on links within tweets. I like seeing who my friends are RTing (or retweeting), and I also enjoy clicking on the links they post, and neither of this is possible on the Xbox.
Not everyone uses Last.fm regularly, but they should. Not only is it a cool way to track what you and your friends are listening to, but it’s an amazing way to discover new music. Last.fm brings to Xbox the ability to listen to radio stations, crafted to meet your current tastes (Your Library Stations) as well as introduce you to stuff you’re bound to love (Your Recommended Stations). If you listen to an artist enough, Last.fm will create a station for you with their music along with similar artists you may or may not listen to.
The only thing I missed about the Last.fm website that wasn’t on Xbox Live was being able to see what I had been listening to lately, as well as what my friends were listening to. But like I said, the radio stations were the important thing to add to Xbox Live. They’re great for parties, hanging out in your dorm room with friends, or time outs between Halo matches.
Overall, these three sites have transitioned very well onto Xbox Live. Twitter is still the easiest and coolest way to tell the whole world what you’re doing. Facebook on Xbox is a streamlined, uncomplicated version of everyone’s favorite social networking site, and Last.fm is a thousand times cooler than listening to the lame radio stations that your cable provider gives you.
The bottom line is, the addition to these three sites makes it even easier to play your favorite games, visit your favorite websites, and listen to some great music, without having ever left your couch.
It’s important to note that if you plan on using any of these new Xbox Live features often, it’s a smart idea to pick up an Xbox Messaging Kit. I wasted the majority of my time with these new applications typing everything in normally and it’s just a huge hassle.