Xbox 360 Redefines Nature and Bounds of Friendship

Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo (

“Can you believe it? I never have to make new friends ever again,” said Marcus Sandoval, though the UT student is known on Xbox 360 as Gamertag NIIXXON.

The sound of laughter fills the room, and the familiar voices come blaring through the television speakers that connect to NIIXXON’s Xbox 360.

The popular gaming console has its own form of online communication: Xbox LIVE, which allows members to communicate and compete from all over the world for about $50 a year.

“It’s sick,” NIIXXON said. “I can keep in touch with all my friends from high school and it is basically like they are sitting right next to me.”

The console works off either an Ethernet cord or wireless Internet and allows members to communicate through a headset or text.

“Most of my friends will send me voice messages on Xbox instead of calling my phone or emailing,” said gamer Phil Partipilo. “It is just more convenient.”

Xbox LIVE makes it so there is really no need to make new friends.

“I really don’t need to make new friends,” said gamer Ryan Drury, also known as Blarg4lyfe. “That sounds really dorky, but I don’t have to with LIVE. I can spend hours just chatting away through my headset with old friends.”

Many of the members prefer to play and chat on Xbox Live than to go out and meet new people.

“I really don’t know the people where I moved,” said NIIXXON. “I prefer the friends I grew up with. I just feel more comfortable talking to them on LIVE than with people from here.”

Xbox LIVE is not only just a place to stay in touch with old friends. It is also a place to make new ones.

“I have about 86 friends on Xbox,” said student Geraldo Vargas. “I think about 15 to 20 are people I actually know, and the others are people I met on LIVE.”

Most of the members who meet friends through Xbox LIVE do not meet up with the people they met online, but they do spend about 4 to 8 hours getting to know them every night.

“I play on Xbox about 7 hours a day, playing games like Halo and Call of Duty,” Vargas said. “Most of that time, I am playing with people I know from Xbox LIVE not just playing solo.”

Although the Xbox Live system is a great place to stay connected with old friends, there is also a possibility of meeting people with bad intentions.

“I have a teenager who plays on Xbox LIVE, and it makes me nervous because you never know who is out there,” said Toni Sandoval. “You hear all these horror stories about internet predators, but they could get onto Xbox LIVE and lure my child. I don’t think too many people think of that.”

Although there are some risks involved in chatting away on Xbox LIVE, most of the members prefer to play and chat with old friends. Some members bought Xbox 360 just to chat with their familiar friends.

“I went out and bought it because I have a lot of friends who have it,” said Charles Little, a new member on Xbox LIVE. “It seems like a waste of money, but in actuality, it saves me money rather than having to call long distance all the time.”

The system runs about $400 at any consumer electronics store, and most would agree that it is money well spent.

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