In a further effort to spread its wings beyond devices it has a direct hand in, Microsoft has brought Xbox Live to the iPad and iPhone... Sort of.
Like the original Windows Phone 7 integration, My Xbox Live allows users to log into their, yep, you've guessed it, Xbox Live accounts, and basically fiddle with their Avatars, send messages to their friends, examine their achievements, that sort of thing.
To be honest, there's not much more to it than that, although you can also access many of the videos posted by the Xbox team in the "Spotlight" section, and we wouldn't be surprised if this also features sponsored trailers somewhere down the line.
The whole shebang is Metro-style and, therefore, looks like the new Xbox Dashboard Update released on 6 December, so there is some continuity, although your own Avatar pretty much accompanies you through each and every screen. There are some differences aesthetic differences between the iPhone and iPad versions, with the latter making great use of the much larger real estate, but the accessibility of both is the same.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the application is "Social" as it allows you to send messages and communicate with your friends, view and edit your own profile, and even restyle your Avatar. You can also set beacons, a new feature that came with the recent Xbox 360 Dashboard refresh that allows you to send an alert to all friends who own a certain game that you are online and wanting to play. When they log in to their own Xbox Live account, that beacon will flash up.
You can also compare games with your friends, so can see if there's anything worth setting a beacon for. And you can see how far through a game you are, or how many more or less achievements you have, in comparison.
The last section is simply titled "Games" and is a searchable list of all the games you've ever played using your account. Clicking on one will list all of the achievements you've earned, and those that are still locked.
When totalled, there may not be that much content in My Xbox Live, but we find that it's a great companion for gaming on the Xbox 360. When you're in a game, you don't necessarily want to quit or pause in order to check your messages, or how far your mates may have got in the same game. Instead, you can keep your iPad or iPhone to one side, and use it instead.
It'd be nice if Microsoft added a feature where you could purchase content through the app that will download straight to your console the next time you boot, basically giving you access to the app store, but what's the betting that's on the roadmap already?
What do you think of the My Xbox Live app? What feature do you think it should also have? Let us know in the comments below...