Xbox 360 Update Hands-on: Last.FM In Action

The final part of our Xbox 360 November dashboard update saves the best for last, without intending the pun. Here's Last.FM in action on my 360, injecting a bit of Zelda and MF Doom into my system.

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I downloaded a preview version of next month's Xbox 360 update this morning and quickly found that Last.FM has the most involved and impressive integration of any of the new features I sampled this morning.

Last.FM is a music-streaming service available for free online. It allows users to mark songs that they like and then offers similar music to match those tastes.

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The service is a little more basic on Xbox Live. I couldn't find a way to make more granular selections about the kind of music I want to listen to. But the application was swiftly reacting to the songs that I indicated that I liked and the tailoring of Stephen-centric music was almost immediate.

The slideshow feature, which presents still imagery associated with the music that is playing, looks good on a TV screen.

The most Xbox-centric feature that I found was the highlighting of gaming music. Streaming stations in there included a gaming soundtrack channel and several stations tied to gaming-related musicians such as chiptunes star Nullsleep and Halo composer Mary O'Donnell.

Last.FM, like Twitter and Facebook, does not seem to be programmed to run in the background of other Xbox 360 applications (like games, for example). But it does seem like it will work well as a home stereo set-up.

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The Last.FM Xbox service is only available to Xbox Live Gold members ($50 for a year of service). To skip the commercials in the radio stations you're streaming, you'll have to pay $3 a month for a Last.FM premium subscription.

Check out part 1 of this November Xbox 360 Dashboard Update preview, which shows Facebook and Twitter on my 360.

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Check out Part 2 of our Xbox 360 Dashboard update preview, as I try the new Zune video marketplace and the Instant Streaming in 1080p service.

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DISCUSSION

So does this scrobble from the 360, or will you need to have pre-scrobbled with your desktop music player of choice?

Sucks this is for Gold users only, though not really a surprise, you can trust MS to charge people for free stuff.

Mega-sucky that it doesn't run in-game.

All in all these social update features seem to suck. They got nothing that ties them to gaming making you wonder why MS ever thought it would be a good idea. If it auto-tweeted game details, or updated your facebook with game stuff and let you use Last.FM in-game then it would be a worthwhile update.

Vidzone was kinda lame (well except the pre-made 'Sexy' Playlist) but at least it's fully free. And the Browser lets you use Facebook n Twitter vanilla style, no stripping down to "integrate" it with the console.

Call me up when they update it to be better or add in-game Spotify to either console. #dashboardupdate