Today I will be telling you about Microsoft's Xbox and how far gaming systems have come in the last 12 years and how it's impacting society. Bill Gates said himself that "a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times," and in 2001 Microsoft released their first gaming console, the Xbox. With this gaming console came the introduction of Xbox Live. When Live was first integrated into the gaming console all users were allowed to do was download arcade games and play with other users online. At the time the online service required a broadband Internet connection, which was far less available compared to today. When Microsoft released the Xbox 360 in 2005 it also came with better graphics and an upgraded online Live service. Not only could users download arcade games and compete with other users, you could now stream TV shows, movies, and music. It allowed specific regions to access streaming applications such Netflix and Hulu. Xbox live is a subscription based service and the user had the option between Xbox Live Free and Xbox Live Gold. The free service provided very little to the user, but the Gold service made a plethora of applications available. A few of these applications include Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, MLB Live, and soon Skype will be a part of this. In 2010, Microsoft introduced the Kinect. The hands free device allowed users to voice commands and play games without even touching a game controller. The Kinect is equipped with a camera and a microphone, so when Skype becomes an authorized application on the Xbox, user-to-user communication will be extremely easy and convenient. Gaming consoles today are now becoming the hub of multimedia. Gaming systems with limited online and media capabilities are now able to stream videos, music, movies and give users access to social networking sites. Gaming consoles today are changing the way we communicate we with one another and it's exciting to think about what new features the "next generation" consoles have in store for the future.