Microsoft has confirmed the imminent launch of Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360 as part of the Xbox 360 Spring Update, allowing Windows, Xbox 360, and mobile users to communicate with each other, also confirming a mini-keyboard controller for X360 and many other Xbox 360 OS additions.
The Xbox 360 Spring Update, available from May 7, 2007, will include Windows Live Messenger, allowing users 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 using Windows Live Messenger is possible using the virtual keyboard accessible on Xbox 360, or by connecting a USB keyboard to the console. In addition, this summer Microsoft will launch a QWERTY text-input device, a new accessory that will connect directly into the Xbox 360 controller to support text and instant messaging.
Beyond Windows Live Messenger, the Spring Update for Xbox 360 includes many new features and enhancements including the following:
- 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 their game, TV show, and movie content 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.
- 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.
The Spring Update is free beginning the week of May 7 and is easily accessible to every Xbox 360 owner through Xbox Live or on Xbox.com.