Microsoft, Social and Gaming

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Microsoft is the least talked about company in social media, yet they are involved in email, online gaming and provide personal profiles to millions of accounts. Windows Live is the online space that ties Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox Live profiles together. This also includes their blog platform, online groups and other social tools.

All users of Hotmail, Messenger, or Xbox Live automatically have a Windows Live ID, a single login that gives the user access to many Microsoft services. From ComScore’s 2 Million More Australians Go Social in 2009 report, Microsoft Live’s web presence had 1,962,000 unique visits in June 2009, just behind MySpace in Australia.

This does not include people using Microsoft’s services such as Xbox Live and Windows Live Messenger. With the addition of more web services to Xbox Live, Microsoft is certain to increase the use of their social platforms.

The first thing that struck me about the Microsoft Live profile pages and tools is the lack of opacity within its network. There are not many tools for sharing content or for finding new connections compared to sites like Facebook. It is easy to aggregate content from Flickr, RSS feeds and a number of other sources on the profile page but there is a lack of third party tools and applications. Microsoft’s main strength lies in their other products, and not in their web presence. In future it is their gaming platform and email services that will expand their reach.

In this regard, the most significant development for Microsoft will be cross platform gaming, encompassing Xbox360, mobile and desktop computing.

Xbox Live gives its users the ability to find new connections, share relevant content and access a lot of third party content via DLC games. It also provides a structured environment with engaging tasks, much in the same way that MMORPGs do the same for the social environments they create. There are other platforms that incorporate a gaming mechanic (Foursquare.com), have third party developers build one (Facebook.com), or have seen one emerge from user interaction (Twitter.com). It will be interesting to see how cross platform gaming, and applications in general, evolve in both their functionality and in how they are used going forward.

One response to “Microsoft, Social and Gaming”

  1. […] approach is different to the operating system based route that Microsoft is taking. Google Chrome OS, Chrome Web Store and Google’s current range of services and tools […]

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