One of the biggest points Microsoft has tried to get across about its Xbox 360 console is that it is a multimedia device, not just a games console. Well, it is certainly mixing the media with its latest plans to integrate Xbox 360 gamers with their mobile phones.
An extension of Xbox Live, the as yet unnamed service will work to send instant messages to friends’ mobiles, letting them know when you are online, when you are gaming and when you are up for some multiplayer action.
The system works via integrating Xbox Live with the company’s MSN Messenger programme. Messenger can already send text messages to mobiles and is included as part of Windows Mobile, which is becoming an increasingly popular platform for today’s smartphones. So all a gamer will have to do is sign in and then they can start receiving alerts. The nature of these alerts will range from automated status indicators such as ‘John - Playing Project Dark Zero’ to actual messages requesting your gaming participation.
Clearly what Microsoft is trying to do here is further unite its platforms. In the same way that many people only use hotmail because all their friends are on Messenger, this scheme could tie dedicated gamers into Windows Mobile based smartphones. It would also make the Xbox 360 a more attractive proposition to Windows Mobile smartphone owners indecisive about which console to buy.
Microsoft plans to have the new Xbox 360 mobile alerts service up and running within the next six months, which should give it something to shout about around the time the PS3 launches…