As part of its efforts to bridge the divide between PC and Xbox 360 gamers, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live users would soon be able to access Windows Live Messenger.
The feature will be added for free through an Xbox 360 Dashboard update – due for release on May 7 – and means that, for the first time, Xbox owners will be able to hold instant messaging conversations with those on a PC.
The move will greatly broaden the communication prospects of the 6 million Xbox Live users worldwide, as they will be able to chat directly with the 260 million users on Windows Live Messenger.
It is a natural extension of Microsoft’s announcement last month
that, from June, the Xbox Live network would be opened up so that PC users on Windows Vista could compete directly against those on an Xbox 360.
“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 the Xbox Live product unit manager, Jerry Johnson, in a statement.
Microsoft also said it would “launch a QWERTY text-input device, a new accessory that will connect directly into the Xbox 360 controller to support text and instant messaging”.
Various gaming news outlets, such as Kotaku and Joystiq, have published leaked images
of the keyboard, which is shown as fitting in between the two “horns” on the bottom of the Xbox 360 controller.
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