Microsoft retires Facebook, Twitter Xbox apps

Posted by Mark Raby

Although the new Xbox 360 Dashboard adds a lot of features, it gets rid of two of the most popular apps.

For some reason, Microsoft decided to get rid of the Twitter and Facebook apps on its game console. For three years, users have been able to post tweets and update their Facebook status from their Xbox 360.

The new Dashboard incorporates a few of the enhancements that were announced at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, including an Internet Explorer app that finally brings Web browsing to Microsoft’s console. The PS3 and Wii have had fully functional Internet browsers for years, but Microsoft hopes this will be a more seamless experience.

The update also adds integration with Rotten Tomatoes so users can see social ratings for downloadable movies. A new recommendation feature also lets users rate all sorts of content from within the Xbox Marketplace. The Dashboard is getting more personalized, with the ability to “pin” games, TV shows, and other content that is usually buried under layers of menu screens so that it is the first thing they see on boot.

The update also ushers in the newly branded Xbox Video platform, which at this point is effectively the same as the former Zune Video Marketplace, but without the “Zune” moniker. The update also improves voice search, integrates TV shows and movies into a new channel, and there is now a dedicated “Sports” channel as well.

Now, even though they can stream music, watch live TV, and access full Web browser capabilities, suddenly that social connectivity has vanished.

It remains unclear whether Microsoft plans to roll out new versions of the apps or if for whatever reason it just doesn't want people spending Xbox time on social networks anymore.

Perhaps it is part of Microsoft's plan to get users to only connect with Microsoft services. Maybe Microsoft is getting ready to roll out some sort of full-service social network and wants users to only connect with that.

Just like Nintendo is launching a social platform called Miiverse for the Wii U, it wouldn't be surprising to see Microsoft roll out some sort of independent social network with the Xbox 720.