Lunchtime Discussion: Do Consoles Really Need Social Apps?

Today is the day that your 360 gets an update that includes, amongst other, musicier things, Facebook and Twitter functionality (in fact, the update is already live). There’s also word that the PS3 is going to get Facebook functionality, which will undoubtedly result in a rather stupid ‘whose Facebook is better’ fanboy war, which will unavoidably result in espionage in the form of one side’s ninjas sabotaging the Facebook functionality of the other.

Or will it? I don’t know why, but I get the feeling that the millions of mad FPSers are going to spend their time, you know, FPSing, rather than Facebooking. The racers will keep on racing, the singers will keep on singing, the guitar heroes will keep on Guitar Hero-ing.

Do the consoles really need this kind of thing? What exactly is the point when I could quite easily load up a laptop and use the definitely superior website to tell people I’m eating a bacon sandwich? Or use my iPod Touch to update people on my bathroom habits as it happens? Besides, have you ever tried typing with your 360 controller? Unless you’ve got the annoyingly-expensive-for-what-it-is mini keyboard or a USB keyboard your hands are going to detach themselves and scuttle away in disgust. Even the PS3’s controller is unwieldy when typing, though it’s a little better due to having a d-pad that isn’t used during S&M.

Last FM? In my room, I have a PS3 (with Vidzone), Xbox 360, iPod docking station (and two iPods), multiple pairs of earphones, a CD player and two laptops. Guess which one I’m least likely to use to listen to music? That’s right, my 360, simply because it’s evil. No wait, sorry, I can’t say that, can I? Then it’s because of a couple of reasons – the 360’s controller is terrible when it comes to actual menus (either awkwardly use an analogue stick or break my fist due to accidentally changing the menu I’m on with the d-pad multiple times and punching the wall in frustration), and because the NXE is terrible when it comes to actually finding specific things, despite how good it looks.

The only time I ever listen to music through my 360 is when I’m playing a game that I don’t need to actually hear. Trials HD? Stick some Blink 182 on. The Dishwasher? Ashlee Simpson, I think. Wait – what? I wouldn’t even consider turning my 360 on specifically to listen to music. In fact, if I felt like listening to music after turning a 360 game off, I would specifically turn off my 360 and turn on my PS3 – which involves swapping the HDMI lead around, as my TV only has one HDMI socket.

So as you can tell, I would go to some lengths just to avoid using my 360 for anything other than gaming. It’s too awkward. Facebook on the PS3? It’s probably better just because of the XMB and the DualShock 3, in my opinion, but it’s still nothing compared to the website, with a proper keyboard, and it still takes you away from the stuff that matters – the games.

However, my opinion isn’t important – what do you think?

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