Xbox Live 'Beacons' will bring Facebook friends into the fray

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Xbox Beacons
Did Xbox Live just become a social gaming service? (And are Xbox gamers really that lonely? Sheesh.) Well, not in the traditional sense, though a relatively minor new feature headed to XBL brings it pretty darn close. GeekWire reports that Microsoft will soon add "Beacons" to Xbox Live, as announced at this year's E3 conference in Los Angeles. These Beacons, a variation on inviting friends to games, allow players to broadcast what games they'd like to play to their friends on XBL ... and on Facebook.

Marc Whitten, VP of the Xbox Live service provided a few more hints as to how Beacons will operate:
We want to make it easy for you to connect with friends over your favorite games on Xbox LIVE, so we are introducing Beacons to the service. Beacons are a way to tell your Xbox LIVE and Facebook friends that you want to play a game on Xbox LIVE. By setting a Beacon, you tell Xbox LIVE what you want to play. Then, Xbox LIVE lets you know when friends are playing or want to play the same game. With Beacons, no matter what you're currently doing on Xbox LIVE your friends know that it's ok to ask you to play your Beaconed games. Imagine sending out a Beacon to let your friends know you're interested in playing "Halo," while watching a movie on Netflix.
While the details are somewhat scarce, we imagine that creating a Beacon would post a message to your Facebook News Feed or create a new status altogether. However, Whitten revealed more about a second feature headed for XBL, cloud storage for your game saves and profile:
Here at Xbox LIVE we listen to your feedback. We are making it easier for you to sign into your Xbox LIVE account from any console at any time to access your game saves and full profile, including items such as Microsoft Points to make purchases, Achievements and friends. Cloud storage will allow you to enjoy the same great Xbox LIVE gaming experience even when you're not in your own living room by giving you the option to store your "game saves" securely in the Xbox LIVE cloud instead of on a portable memory unit or your console's hard drive.
Now, being "social" by heading over to a friends house to play Halo will be much easier than recovering your Gamertag only to have to recover it a second time when your return home. In fact, it seems that one of Microsoft's big words at this year's E3 is "social." The three-day event has to even officially begin, so there's plenty of time for last minute reveals, like that FarmVille-for-Xbox announcement we're all just dying to hear about--gotcha!

[Image Credit: Destructoid]

Do you think these changes are an effort to combat true social games on Facebook? Do you see a day where social and traditional games are on in the same? Share with us in the comments. Add Comment.
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