A long-awaited update to Microsoft’s Xbox Live platform that integrates social features from Twitter and Facebook will be released early next week, Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox Live, confirmed today at NewTeeVee Live.
With the update, which will be released Nov. 17, users will be able to connect their Xbox Live and Twitter accounts, allowing them to post updates and view their friends’ updates through their televisions. The Facebook integration will allow users to find Facebook friends who are also Xbox Live members, share status updates, and post screenshots of games to their Facebook accounts.
But the key will be the ability to share Facebook photos through the television, Whitten said. Facebook integration will enable users to easily flip through those pictures, without having to worry about how to connect their PCs to their TVs.
“When you think about the types of things that are happening on the web and how you bring them into the living room, those pictures want to be on the biggest screen in the house,” Whitten said. “There are dozens of ways to make that happen, but they’re hard.”
Next week’s update will add the ability for users to tune into streaming music service Last.fm. It will also update the Xbox Live’s Zune video marketplace, upgrading the video quality of the service.
In addition to talking about the new social features, Whitten showed off the Xbox Live’s recent integration of BSkyB‘s Sky Player. While the Sky Player is only available in the U.K., the service enables Xbox Live users to tune into linear and on-demand television programming delivered through their gaming console, with a channel guide that lets users see if their friends are online, and even be able to watch and chat with them.
When asked if the Xbox 360 is due for an update, Whitten suggested that the extensibility of Xbox Live is what will keep it fresh, not just as a gaming platform, but as a platform for unique social and media experiences.
“The beauty is that it’s all about the software. It’s going to be about games; it’s going to be about social,” Whitten said. “This box is a super-powerful conduit for getting the media to you that you want to get at.”