A blog post on the Xbox.com Forums today announced a “significant update” to Xbox.com, which will do away with the “My Xbox” section and replace it with a new “Social” section, and new sections for Video and Music:
The new update is introducing the concept of “Beacons”, a part of the new Social section, which will allow you to set up to three active Beacons on your favorite games in a time frame. The blog post explains:
Click “Activity” at the top of the screen to view the new Activity page. At the top, in the My Recent Activity section, you’ll see the titles you’ve most recently played and which of your friends are playing them as well, in addition to any titles you’ve set a Beacon for. To set a Beacon for a title that you want to play with others, you’ll just find it in your activity list and click the “Set Beacon” button. You can have up to three Beacons active at a time, and you can optionally add a custom description (such as “From 7-10 pm Pacific” or “Horde Mode!”).
Click a title and you’ll be taken to a page that not only shows your achievements, but also which of your friends have also set Beacons for that game. Below the Beacons you can see anyone who’s online playing right now, and others who’ve recently played it. You’ll also be alerted to friends playing titles that you’ve set a Beacon for on your Xbox 360, but that won’t happen until after the next System Update goes live. However, Windows Phone users will be able to see Beacons under the Xbox LIVE Requests section right away!
What strikes us about this update, including that Beacons will be available for Windows Phone users right away, is the continued convergence of Xbox, Zune, Windows Phone, and online services, such as the new WindowsPhone.com, which allows you some management of Windows Phone apps from any browser, and now the new Xbox.com.
The blog post describes how you’ll be able to manage Zune movies and video from the browser:
…a new Video section that lets you browse the Zune video catalog, and purchase or rent movies and TV shows to watch later on your Xbox 360, Windows Phone, or Zune media player.
Interestingly, the post does not mention the Music section, which is clearly present in the new header. It’s unclear what kind of overlap this section will have with Zune.net, but if you can buy music and video from Xbox.com, doesn’t that make Zune.net pretty much redundant?