Ready for Facebook and Twitter updates from millions of Xbox 360s? The beta leads off "middle-towards-end of October," according to Microsoft speaking to MTV.
Microsoft's Larry Hryb recently wrote that the late September Xbox 360 system update was "[in] preparation for additional system enhancements (Facebook/Twitter/Last.FM) that will arrive later this year."
I'm seeing a few places (okay, actually just The Guardian) angling this as a "do you really want it?" story. Facebook for the 360's not full-featured, for starters. You'll be able to rifle through friends lists and see which ones have Xbox LIVE gamertag's cross-linked. If you want to invite them over, you can do that, too. But you won't be able to mess with videos or Facebook games and applications, and unless you have a USB keyboard, you'll have to text with a gamepad, something I've always disliked.
What does the Xbox 360 offer in the way of services or accessibility that your computer doesn't--and far more elegantly--already? Can't think of anything. I'll dink around with the beta when it hits, but don't imagine it'll supplant my preference for typing long (or even short) form on a computer or mobile phone. If I find myself inclined to chirp about something clever (or odious) in whatever game I'm playing, I'd rather do it reaching over to my laptop, not invoking the 360's sometimes sluggish dashboard.
The option to link Facebook friends lists with Xbox LIVE ones notwithstanding, I don't see much to get all that excited about. It's one more input for Facebook and Twitter missives that might make one-stop shoppers smile, but it's probably redundant for the rest of us--the ones who prefer texting from phones or computer keyboards over input-limited gamepads.
Follow me on Twitter @game_on