The Xbox is expanding its purpose from just a gaming console and a way to access Netflix. Starting November 17, Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune HD video will be accessible from Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles.
To access the new goodies, you'll need an Xbox LIVE Gold account, which are about $4 per month. There will be a trial period weekend from November 20-23, where Silver members can sample all of the features for free.
Some details on those features include: Facebook users can stalk friends on a new level by finding out who else is on Xbox LIVE. Zune video can be played in HD at 1080p with 5.1 channel surround sound. You can also chat on screen while in movie mode. Along with Zune movies, Xbox users can stream MSNBC, and find a library of arts and current events content. (The release cites The New Yorker and Dilbert, but I'm really not sure why Dilbert is a selling point.) Twitterers can tweet while gaming.
Finally, Xbox has developed "Gamer Stations" on Last.fm filled with playlists of game-related times of music. Not sure if that's a lot of pop or rock, or maybe something like the Super Mario Bros. soundtrack. (I'm really hoping for the latter.)
It seems that a gaming console really can't just be for games anymore to get the most buyers. And perhaps Sony is going to play catch-up to Microsoft by adding some similar features to the PS3 soon...