Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The growing Xbox community breeds new services.

The Xbox 360 has become more widely available and the Xbox community grows with each new Xbox Live sign-up. As more people get involved in gaming and more ideas proliferate on what the community wants and needs, new services are born. Particularly since the Xbox 360 sends data to Xbox Live for your gamertag these new services are being created offering custom content centered around this data. Like a blog for your 360, custom gamertags for forums, friend matching services, and gamerscore tracking and comparison. Let's look at each of these services briefly.

Your Xbox 360 can blog. Seriously, ChangeAgent (Trapper Markelz) and Fatty Chubs (Stephen Sopp) created 360voice.com. This service takes the information from your gamertag and uses it to create a blog, check mine out at rijit's Xbox 360 Blog. The blog puts the information in blog form to let the reader know what games were played along with achievements made and does it in a comical way. Also listed on the blog page is a live feed feature, gamerscore chart, and a top ten games chart. 360voice.com also offers APIs for others to use to create their own custom content. Microsoft has taken an interest in this project so hopefully new things will come from it.

Gamercards on forums, blogs, and email is being made possible by Microsoft through the gamertag script offered at xbox.com. The problem is compatibility in certain forums, blogs, or websites. So some gamers thought it would be great to offer conversion utilities such as MyGamerCard.net which can convert your gamertag to snippet code, flash, or dynamic images as well as offer custom themes for gamertags. Custom gamertag images based on subjects ranging from games to music can be found on Icp4Ever.com Both of these service help with posting your gamertag on forums and websites making it easy through a cut and paste code.

Finding new friends on Live can be a daunting task even when you have the game your playing in common, it is hard to tell if someone shares the same likes and dislikes in other games as well without a lot of research. Well, it used to be, enter a new service called XBL Friends Finder. This service compares your gamertag info with other gamers who are members of this service and matches you up by comparing favorite games and your gamerscore. The service is brand new so there are only around 100 users registered as I write this.

Ever wondered when you made that benchmark gamerscore of 1000? Well you can post a chart on your blog, forum, etc of your gamerscore over time through GamerScoreChart.com. This service also has some comparison charts called Rivalry charts and promises new features are on the way.

Given how young the Xbox 360 is, these new services are in their infancy and it is very exciting, to me, to become a part of that, even if it is just beta testing their services. Using these services to show off "mad gamer skillz" is what this community needs, after all gamer life is about competition and bragging rights. Hope to see you on Xbox Live soon, I will be the guy skulking in the shadows trying to get a bead on a great headshot.

Updated 5/25/2006 12:57:23 AM

I have learned some of these service are endorsed by Xbox.com as they have been featured as a Community Showcase on Xbox Live. The ones I have seen so far are 360voice.com and MyGamerCard.net. I will also be posting on any other service such as these as I find them.


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