Social networking is key for next Xbox 360 update

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft has announced some details about an Xbox Live dashboard update in December, addressing digital download Xbox titles and more social networking functionality.

Though Microsoft did not give specific details, it said next month's Xbox 360 update would enhance the social aspect of the Xbox Live online service.  The software giant said "this type of capability has largely come to be expected from consumers as a means to relate in an online world," referring to the vast communities built in sites like Myspace and Facebook.

One feature that was announced is the ability for users to see their friends list directly from the console's main menu, or "dashboard".  As it stands now, users must go through a handful of menus to see their contacts list.

The firmware update will also bring to life a new feature first announced earlier this month - the ability to purchase original Xbox games as digital downloads.  Halo and Fable will be available from the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15).

The new update is set to go live on December 4.