The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: E3: Microsoft plays up Xbox hookups ""Our long-term vision is that entertainment will ultimately become a software business," said J Allard, Microsoft's vice president in charge of Xbox's online services.
To that end, Xbox announced three new ways it is integrating entertainment and software on its Xbox Live service, which launched in November and has 500,000 subscribers.
One way, called Live Now, allows players to connect online through the Xbox — with no game in the machine — and talk to each other over a headset in conference-call fashion.
A second tool, called Live Web, lets people go online from any Web connection to check player rankings and see who else is playing online at the time.
The third feature, called Live Alerts, is what Allard called "real Dick Tracy stuff." It lets people send each other invitations to play games through Internet-enabled cellphones, handheld computers and other devices that use the free MSN Alert service.
The service is compatible with the new SPOT watches expected to be on the market later this year, Allard said. Those watches, based on Microsoft's .NET Web-services initiative, display constantly updated information from the Internet using the FM radio band."