It's been revealed, in the footnote of the press release announcing the Xbox 360 price cut, that the forthcoming Facebook and Twitter applications for the console will require a Gold subscription - which is already required for playing games online.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "Facebook and Twitter on Xbox Live will be free to Gold members, with a free trial period also available for Silver members". There's no details on how long that trial is, or what happens at the end of it.

It seems that Microsoft is trying to give casual owners of its Xbox console some reason to shell out the £40 a year that Gold membership costs.

On the one hand, that's understandable now that sales of the hardware are drying up. On the other, though, is holding back social features the right thing to do, given that people can just open up their laptops instead.

It's not clear yet when the features will be rolled out, but Microsoft has indicated that they'll be available before Christmas.