"Social gaming" is one of the hottest online industries. Companies like Zynga, which had a breakout hit with FarmVille, have proven that gamers want to share their high scores and challenge friends via social networks. When Microsoft launched Xbox Live in 2002, it revolutionized the idea of interactive gaming [source: Hatfield]. Not only could you play with other gamers around the globe, but you could talk trash using voice and chat.
Today, all gaming consoles come with Internet connectivity and the power to interact with a large community of gamers worldwide. WiiU, the latest gaming console from Nintendo, is proof of the gaming industry's commitment to making the game console the all-in-one portal for both entertainment and social interaction. The WiiU, released in November 2012 in North America, includes the Miiverse, where players can use their Mii avatars to make friends with other players, chat, post messages and even share screenshots from within the game [source: Nintendo].
The WiiU also comes with a new service called Nintendo TVii, Nintendo's entry into the streaming set-top box market. While watching TVii, you can use the virtual keyboard on the gamepad to share comments with friends on Facebook, Twitter and the Miiverse [source: Nintendo].
The Xbox 360 dashboard used to include Facebook and Twitter apps to share screenshots and in-game comments with friends, but Microsoft dropped the apps in its 2012 mandatory software update. Instead, the Xbox 360 now includes access to Microsoft's latest Web browser, IE 9, which players can use to post messages to their favorite social networks directly from the game console [source: Murphy].
Sony's PlayStation 3 console includes PlayStation Home, a virtual world in which your personal avatar interacts with other PS3 users and competes in free online games. The PS3 doesn't have built-in access to Facebook or Twitter (though you can downlad apps), but the PS3 fan community is much more active on conventional social media sites than Xbox fans with 1.4 million Twitter followers compared with Xbox's 774,000 [source: Daily] . This may be because PlayStation reps actually respond to their tweeters.