Instant Messaging Comes to the Xbox

Microsoft is adding Instant Messaging to the Xbox platform on Live, allowing the 6 million Xbox Live users to instant message the 260 million users on the Live Messenger service. You will be able to chat with up to six users and you will be able to plug in a USB keyboard to use.

Microsoft announced this evening that they will be integrating Live Messenger into the Xbox platform on May 7, linking 260 million Live Messenger users with 6 million Xbox Live users. Xbox Live users will be able to chat with up to six contacts simultaneously by plugging a USB keyboard into the Xbox. Gamers will love this. The video below shows some of the new features (taken from Kotaku). Source: Microsoft Adds Instant Messaging To Xbox

From the press release from Microsoft,

?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 Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. ?For our growing community of 6 million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360.? Source: Instant Messaging Comes to Xbox 360, Expanding the Largest Social Network on Television

Other features that will be added include:
A richer Achievement notification pop-up will showcase the name of the unlocked Achievement and the gamerscore value without needing to leave the game to check the Achievements list.

Enhanced family settings features for Xbox LIVE communications enable different defaults for video chat and voice chat.

A new Xbox LIVE Marketplace blade lets Xbox LIVE members access the content they seek ? whether it is game content or TV shows and movies (available in the United States) ? from one place on Xbox LIVE.

Updates to Xbox LIVE Arcade allow owners to quickly see which Xbox LIVE Arcade games their friends are playing and join in the fun. Xbox LIVE members can also compare progress of leaderboard scores and Achievements directly with all friends on their friends list. Expanded Tell a Friend capabilities make it easier than ever to boast about Achievements and high scores.

A new option in Auto Downloads provides faster access to the entire collection of free, trial-version Xbox LIVE Arcade games.

New progressive download controls provide easy access to optimal viewing options by letting people fast-forward, rewind, pause and resume as their video is downloaded from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Extension of the background download functionality will allow owners to set their Xbox 360 console to turn off automatically after downloads are complete.

Here is a demo video that Techcruch linked to.