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Summary:

Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger for Xbox 360, announced earlier today, might sound cool to some, but to us it seems like a ploy to sell more high-margin peripherals, like keyboards, thereby boosting company’s game division revenues. After all, that tactic has worked well for Apple and […]

Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger for Xbox 360, announced earlier today, might sound cool to some, but to us it seems like a ploy to sell more high-margin peripherals, like keyboards, thereby boosting company’s game division revenues. After all, that tactic has worked well for Apple and its iPod line-up.

controllerxbox.pngIt is a wily move by Microsoft – after all, to instant message someone you would need a QWERTY keyboard-based device, which no surprise, Microsoft will start selling later this summer at an undisclosed price as an attachment to existing controllers.

Unless the first 10 million 360 adopters upgrade their controllers, don’t expect ubiquitous IM use from them. Even then, it’s unlikely what is being sold as a game machine will transform into a secondary messaging box over night – if ever.

In the interim, gamers will need to rely on the cumbersome on-screen virtual keyboard to communicate with friends. Yeah right – trigger happy gamers are going to do that.

  1. Umm–you DO realize you can plug any USB keyboard in, right? I guess that sort of ruins your whole point.

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  2. what are you talking about? it plugs in to the headset jack in the controller…no need to buy a newer controller!!!!

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  3. I don’t own a console; but I think this post is a little over the top in terms of making accusations at MS? I find it a pretty interesting development and its certainly an extension of the 360’s overall capability.

    Gee, it might also be nice to be able to have a qwerty pad to do other non-gaming, non-IM type features on the 360. Like search for media or TV shows.

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  4. Bob/Mark/Drew,

    Points taken. But Xbox 360 owners will still have to purchase the add-on (as noted in the post) to realistically chat with others.

    Sensational headline aside, it’s unlikely that Microsoft can gain significant traction to truly facilitate a healthy chat community on Live despite their lofty living-room ambitions. Doing it this late in the game only compounds the challenge of having people actually use the chat service, especially considering the already working and easier-to-use VOIP.

    It’s difficult for any company to implement text features after first launching without a keyboard. Microsoft will only face the same challenges. Yes, it’s nice, but is it really that important (read: will it significantly help the 360’s chances)?

    If it’s just “nice,” then its being sold as a value-ad with nice profit margins.

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  5. if Microsoft does it, it’s a ploy. If Apple does it, it’s a cool new peripheral.

    I agree with Drew that this peripheral is handy for a whole host of reasons. the console is begging for a keyboard. search for movies and tv shows (music?) ftw!

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  6. I don’t Microsoft is doing anything wrong: concerted company effort to make more money by selling more peripherals, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    It is a smart business ploy on their part.

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  7. I disagree with you Blake. I think this will sell like hotcakes! Considering the media ambitions (HD-DVD) that MS has and that it’s going to be likely placed in the living room, a keyboard is just another logical extension to the system. I would love to see a wireless keyboard for the Xbox 360.

    I also would be happy to bet you that many of the Xbox 360 owners already have an MSN Live account so signing them up is no big deal.

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  8. Phil,

    no disagreement there – it will sell, and as we said, going to make money for microsoft. which is a good thing because microsoft is a for-profit enterprise.

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  9. Tim,

    Ploy is a strategy and no where does blake suggest that there is anything wrong with it. As far as Apple is concerned, he does make a point that it worked for Apple. Similarly it should work for Microsoft too.

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  10. IM is a killer app in the Xbox audience. Adding the Xbox as yet another presence location will help MS messenger immensely.

    I am more interested in what other applications happen once the Xbox has a keyboard.

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