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Microsoft launches social networking tools on 360

Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune added to Xbox feature line-up

Microsoft has launched a host of new community features for the Xbox 360 platform, with Facebook, Twitter, last.fm and Zune functionality all now added to the consoles services.

The new functionality, previewed at a London event last night - at which Taio Cruz and Paloma Faith both performed - will enable users to post to Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as listen to music via Last.fm and watch streaming 1080p HD content with Zune.

"It's the community that drives us forward, and it's the community that allows us to pioneer new ways of connecting people through the entertainment they love," said Neil Thompson, senior director of Microsoft's Entertainment Division in UK & Ireland. "Tonight we're celebrating the transformation of the TV as tomorrow everyone will be able to enjoy some truly exciting interactive entertainment experiences which continues to deliver on our vision of connected entertainment for everyone."

And Ryan Regan, CFO and head of digital, for Last.fm added: "The Last.fm and Xbox Live partnership firmly catapults the Xbox 360 into the centre of the social music revolution. With the ability to discover music and explore endless personalised stations, music fans can turn their game console into the ultimate living room entertainment centrepiece. This is another example of Last.fm working with an innovative partner to further connect listeners with their favourite music and artists."

A full list of functionality follows:

  • Facebook: Update your status to share the movie, game or entertainment you're enjoying, connect with friends and view their Facebook stream, status updates and photos on the big screen - as well as compare your Xbox Live and Facebook friends lists.
  • Twitter: Discover, post, and reply to Tweets on your Xbox 360. You can view friend profiles, trends and conversations, or search Twitter content.
  • Last.fm: Set up personalised radio stations with Last.fm on Xbox 360. Skip, 'ban' or 'love' songs to create your perfect mix, with built-in "Gamer Stations" featuring music selected specifically for the gaming community (available in the US and UK).
  • Zune: A premium high fidelity video experience with instant-on HD in 1080p and 5.1 channel surround sound for Xbox Live, with no waiting for downloads or buffering. The experience can also be shared with up to seven friends through voice chat and Avatar integration on the TV screen.

The Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm services will require users to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold membership, while all subscribers will have access to a four minute chase scene clip from forthcoming movie Avatar, directed by James Cameron.

The clip will be available from launch until November 21, and Jon Landau - producer on the film - commented: "With the fantastic high definition experience of Zune on Xbox Live we are so excited to be able to give Xbox 360 users a sneak preview of one of the exhilarating chase scenes in the movie before anyone else. The clip will only be exclusive on Xbox LIVE for five days, so don’t miss it."

The latest functionality upgrade follows shortly after the integration of Sky TV and film content onto the Microsoft platform - a launch which didn't run quite according to plan, but has now settled down.

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