Xbox Live, Facebook and Twitter: Incompatible

By  |  Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Here’s a telling moment from my first experiences with social networking on Xbox Live: While rifling through status updates on Facebook, I spotted a comment that seemed worthy of a response, which would’ve taken forever to type on my controller. Also, there was a Web link which the Xbox 360 couldn’t access. So I got off the couch, walked into the next room, and typed out a response on my computer, then spent the next five minutes looking at the Web site in question.

That’s a failure, and it carries over to Xbox Live’s Twitter implementation as well. Both features went live on the Xbox 360 today along with’s Internet radio service and the Zune Marketplace, a facelift for the console’s existing video storefront that includes 1080p video and online movie-watching parties.

Of all the new features, I’m mostly interested in how the Xbox 360 does social networking. With Sony readying Facebook support on the Playstation 3, and the PS3 blockbuster Uncharted 2 allowing you to post in-game progress to Twitter, the games industry seems to be latching on to social networking.

Input is the obvious problem. Unless you spring for a $30 Xbox 360 Messenger Kit (which you’re cheerily reminded about when starting up Facebook), both networks feel trapped behind glass. You can read what other people are doing, but participating is a chore.

However, the feeling of looking-but-no-touching goes beyond input. On Twitter, you can’t visit Web pages because the console doesn’t have a Web browser. That’s too bad, because external links are as much a part of Twitter as the things people say. Facebook suffers from the same problem, and more: You can’t add friends, you can’t use apps and you can’t modify your profile. You can’t even poke people.

The major problem is that Facebook and Twitter are made for the open Internet, while the Xbox 360 is a walled garden. Looking at full-screen photo albums in Facebook is a redeeming quality, but ultimately social networking is incompatible with the closed system of consoles. I don’t expect to use Facebook or Twitter on the Xbox 360 too often, and when Facebook comes to the Playstation 3, I’m not expecting a markedly better experience.


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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Pablo Says:

    I hope they fix it soon. It’s like using the PS3’s web browser, but then having to use the PC, cause it doesn’t work with all sites.

  2. Tech Says:

    It would never work unless they started charging for compatability.

  3. Ben Nash Says:

    I completely agree with these gripes, however I’d like to expand on the positive here. on the xbox is perfect! Absolutely what my home-office-studio-bedroom-living-room needed. I can listen to all my stations, create new ones, search artists & tags, scrobble, view photos of artists while the music plays, and basically do everything the website can do. It is missing some social friend functionality. I can finally turn CNN/MSNBC off.

    I also think Twitter on the xbox SUCKS. I was excited to see trending topics, but what a disappointment. Come on designers, add some pizazz. It’s just not usable.

    Okay back to the positive, Facebook is not that bad for viewing data, yeah input is bad. The best function is probably the photo/slideshow viewing. This function will only continue to support Facebook’s dominance in the online photo arena.

    Now if I could only play in the background while viewing a facebook slideshow.

    So overall I give my best compliments, facebook is a solid start, and twitter blew it. The future looks bright. Oh and my Apple TV still can’t do anything easily (I’m a fanboy)

  4. Marc Says:

    All it needs is a web browser. It has nothing at all to do with being “closed”. After all, the iPhone is a closed system, with a naff keyboard, and Twitter et al seem to work fine on it.

  5. tehpeng Says:

    Xbox has always been cursed with charging for unnecessary things. Remember the original Xbox dongles for controllers? ostensibly so when someone tripped over a cord it wouldnt pull your console down and eat your game. Guess what? People tripped over the cord, the thing still fell, and eventually you lost the three inch cord and had a useless controller.

    How about the dvd remote and adapter? Paying for something the Xbox could already do, if you lost the remote you couldnt buy one separately, you had to buy the package all over. Without the remote, you could only watch dvds that played automatically.

    Epic fail, as usual Microsoft. Although its still the only console I own.

  6. james Says:

    If my console wasn’t banned, I’d love to checkout this update.

  7. Chris Merriman Says:

    Re. the typing is a pain in the arse issue. I use a USB keyboard. The full stops don’t work, and the caps lock is always inverted to that shown on screen, but it is a start at least.
    More of a problem for me is that twitter does nothing. I downloaded the update and facebook works fine, however when I select Twitter by pressing X instead of A for facebook, it goes to an almost blank screen, the icon animates for a while, then dumps me back to the dashboard. Anyone else know if this problem is widespread?

  8. topxbox Says:

    yeah im whit the guys above, sorry to say but they are 100% wright :D.

  9. Chris Merriman Says:

    Just a quick update, twitter has been working fine for a week or so now. No updates, no settings changed, just started working one day.
    I tried changing a setting to fix the USB keyboard issue, I think I went from English to English (qwerty) and didn’t notice any difference yet.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

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