The Xbox 360 is cranking up its plan to take over your life – next year, MSN Messenger will be integrated into Xbox Live to send you mobile alerts telling you if friends are online.
Microsoft's UK mobility business manager Jason Langridge told the BBC that the service will be rolled out within six months, and won't cost you any extra cash.
So, if you have a mobile with Messenger, you'll be able to receive notices straight from your mate's 360 telling you that they're gagging for a few games of Fifa '06. You can then chat away on IM. There's something incredibly geeky about getting texts from someone else's games console, but it'll certainly help organise spontaneous online gaming parties.
The new feature also fits in with the revamped Live's emphasis on building a gaming community. You now have a personal scorecard so people can peruse your gaming CV and there are four matchmaking zones - Underground, Family, Pro and Recreation - so you can frag with like-minded people. We're certainly impressed with the polished interface (above) and abundant new features of the next-gen online experience.
Expect to see more 2006 developments linking the 360 with Windows Live, Microsoft's new online search and e-mail service. For more info, head here.