We have just received a letter from Marc Whitten, Microsoft's corporate VP of Xbox Live. As it turns out, there are a couple of new features coming to Xbox Live that were not mentioned in the actual Microsoft press conference at E3.
First of all, it looks like Microsoft is introducing a cloud storage feature similar to what PlayStation Plus subscribers are already getting. You'll be able to save your XBL profile and game saves to the cloud.
- "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 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. Gone are the days of “gamertag recovery.” Now all you need to do is sign in, no matter where you are! "
The other new feature is coming to Live is something called "Beacons". You can use them to announce that you want to play a game and invite your friends on Live and Facebook. You will be alerted when your friends want to play the same game or are playing it right now.
- "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. It’s about making it easier for you to share and discover games and multiplayer opportunities with friends on Xbox LIVE. "
Cloud storage is quite a neat feature, but do you think that the beacons will actually end up being useful? Only time will tell!