Members of the six-million-strong Xbox LIVE community currently send more than two million text and voice messages a day and can now use Windows Live Messenger to text chat with up to six people on their contact list at one time, while playing games, listening to music, or watching movies. Text chat adds to the variety of options friends and families already have to communicate with on Xbox LIVE, including voice and video chat.
Current relationships on Windows Live Messenger and Xbox LIVE will be unified on Xbox 360 and users will see at a glance if their existing friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags, instantly expanding the breadth of connected experiences they can share online.
New features provided by Windows Live Messenger integration with Xbox Live include:
- Chat via instant messenger with up to 20 contacts in a single conversation, and have up to six different conversations at the same time with people on PCs, mobile phones and other Xbox 360 consoles.
- Instant message while playing games, listening to music or watching movies or TV shows downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- View at a glance if friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags and add them to a unified friends list.
- Utilize the virtual keyboard on the Xbox 360 to text chat or connect a USB keyboard to the console. Launching later this summer, the Xbox 360 text-input device accessory will connect directly to the controller to support instant messaging.
Update: Dare points out that although Xbox Live / Windows Live Messenger integration is enabled by default, you can opt out easily, in case you don’t really want your messenger contacts to know you’ve been playing Xbox instead of responding to their urgent IMs:
The feature is enabled by default once you opt-in to link your .NET Passport account/Windows Live ID with your XBox Live account. To disable the feature after you have linked your IDs, you need to turn off the option to automatically sign-in to Messenger when logged into XBox Live. The steps to do this from XBox Live are
- click on profile
- click on ‘auto sign in’
- there is an xbox and a messenger section. Click disable on the messenger option
Voila, and that’s it. Your leisure time privacy is preserved.