Why Didn't Anyone Use Facebook Or Twitter On The Xbox 360?

I am an inveterate Twitter-er, with the second-most Tweets of anyone on Kotaku's staff. I'll interrupt a game to bash out a 140-character punchline to something that just happened or occurred to me in one. It's just my nature. After locking myself out of my bathroom and resolving the matter by literally kicking down the door, my next act was to hit TweetDeck and brag about it.

Tweeting mid-game requires me to pause, come upstairs, type in a password to wake up my computer, write the Tweet and press Enter. All of that is more user friendly than the Twitter application within the Xbox 360, which will be yanked — along with the Facebook app — when the new dashboard update arrives.

I think I sent maybe one Tweet from the 360's Twitter app, which was on the day it arrived on the 360 a couple of years ago. After that, there seemed to be no point. If you wanted to Tweet, you had to be doing only that. Twitter's value comes in multitasking, writing a quick, hopefully witty, reaction to something you just read, heard or did.

The Twitter app on the 360 is functional, sure. It is also extremely rigid, You want to Tweet? Fine, you have to quit everything and use only this app. Done Tweeting? You're gonna log out now and, I might add, go reboot that game you were playing if you want to return to it.

This will likely still be the case when the dashboard update arrives; you can do all your social networking through the Twitter or Facebook sites themselves with the new web browser, which unless I've missed something, doesn't sound like it'll run in the background alongside a game or another application. So it will still be far easier to keep a smartphone with the app on it next to you, if you've thought of something so damn clever you have to pause the game and say it right now.

Could anything make someone want to use social media on a console? Yes. Give me the ability to take a screenshot and send it over Twitter in a game, and I might spend more time doing that than playing. This is what social media does best — sharing that which you are experiencing, whether it's the show you're watching, the article you just read, hell, the breakfast you just ordered. And on a video gaming console, it was basically impossible to share the experience you were having, which is playing a game. No one is going to save their progress, leave the game, sign into Twitter, and belt out a 140-character OMG on losing three squad members in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

It may take a game with specific Twitter or Facebook features to break this stasis. The Facebook app (called "Facebook Connect" when it was first introduced) promised to let users take a screenshot and upload it to their walls, but the feature had to be specifically supported within the game. (Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 was cited as the example. Facebook's removal from the dashboard is the bigger failure, given all the promises made on its behalf at E3 2009. The application had not been updated in two dashboard generations, either.)

Madden NFL 13 and NBA 2K13, among others, this year offer the means to send Twitter updates on your games, from within the game. Both feature the means to create and save screenshots to their respective online services. At some point, those two functions will integrate. It doesn't have to be a sports video game doing it first, but they've already got the motive and the opportunity.

So Microsoft's removal of the Twitter and Facebook apps doesn't mean that the social media experience has no place on a console, any more than it should have no place alongside PC gaming. But right now it's a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Microsoft doesn't see much value in integrating an under-used Twitter or Facebook with the gaming experience, and gamers don't see any value in using them separately.


    I can tell you exactly why.

    Because smartphone, that's why.

    Last edited 21/10/12 6:12 pm

      Because social networking sux

    I'm hoping the Wii U will allow for stuff like this, what with it's ability to multitask games with other things.
    Though I suspect Miiverse will be the only social network Nintendo will want you to use... Or did Miiverse connect with Twitter and Facebook? I don't really recall.

      Yeah, like how the 3DS can 'multitask'. It's not going to happen, I'm afraid.

        The 3DS certainly can't but the WiiU will have 1GB of RAM dedicated to the operating system (ie: on functions other than gaming). It will multitask better than a lot PCs running HD games

          Hm? I have 8gb of ram and I can multi task faster than you read this. Jk but I'm sure my PC can multitask Better than the wii u

          Key words being "running HD games" so pretty much any game within the last three years that will look immensely better on PC won't multi task well... yeah that is a fair argument >.>

          Sorry, but I use two displays on my computer for a reason. One for a windowed-but-still-fullscreen game and one for blogging, screenshot editing and general computer usage. Can't really get much better at multitasking than that!
          For a casual gamer, sure, the WiiU might be better at multitasking. But that's because the common consumer is too simple to invest in a gaming PC/learn to make the most out of their computer.

    on the odd occasion on fb i see "via xbox 360" but not very often, not many people use it

    Could it be that the onscreen keyboards for consoles are completely crap?

      Next gen they'll ALL be stealing Valve's idea :p

        If you are referring to the 'big picture' mode in steam, that isn't Valve's idea.


        Before Killzone 2, this layout was used on many Xbox and PSP homebrew apps.

        Last edited 21/10/12 6:11 pm

      Exactly. Why use xbox when I have a phone and PC, both of which are infinitely easier to use for such purposes.

      The keyboard add-on for the Xbox is pretty cheap and easy to use. Mine is nearly always clipped onto my controller.

      I honestly don't understand why ms haven't changed to a better keyboard. It holds back almost everything they try to do.

    Because there isn't a useful keyboard?

    I used facebook once, to import my facebook friends into Xbox Live. Otherwise why would I? It was an awful app made in the crappy old UI, and I could check facebook quicker by grabbing my phone out of my pocket or picking up my laptop.

    I think it'd be a potentially great option if you could access it from the pop-up dashboard menu when you press the Xbox button. You could bring up the Twitter stream as one of the tabs and quickly tweet something then press the Xbox button to drop the dashboard and continue gaming. Unfortunately, Xbox LIVE is never that simple.

    Woah he tweets from a computer. If I want to tweet my smartphone is readily available.

    Really didnt care to use twitter & fb on the 360. And I'm not going to use I.E. to use them either. I got my smart phone tablet & notebook for that. Xbox 360 is for playing games . The only thigh I'll use I.E. is to stream youporn

    Being able to tweet/facebook a screenshot would be fantastic and they should be ashamed for not having implemented it already. I'd love to be able to do it with XCOM right now, my friends and I are all in each other's campaigns so it's heaps of fun keeping up with how "we" are doing. It's easy for them because they just post their Steam screenshots, I have to take a photo of the bloody TV since I'm playing on 360... -_-

    Never. Didn't see the use for it, especially while having a phone or other internet capable device.

    Ever tried typing with a controller? That's why!

    I imagine it's probably because SmartGlass is going to become your social interface.

    I think Microsoft should have done what they did with Social integration on Windows Phone and Windows 8. Build it right into the OS.

    So, if you're playing a game, and you want to Tweet somethign that happened, just bring up the guide, and post a tweet/facebook post direct from there, as opposed ot having a separate app that never if ever gets used.

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