It's unacceptable that Xbox Live, a trailblazing network in most regards, continues to limit users to a mere 100 friends. I rarely engage in online multiplayer and never foresaw reaching the cap, yet suddenly even I have almost 100 friends. The latest Xbox Live update brings a variety of new, welcomed features to the service, but continues to cap your friends list at 100. Why, Microsoft?
"It's a really good question," said Xbox Live chief of staff Steve Willet in a recent phone interview with me. "It is absolutely a continued focus and I am not [a] technical architect that you could tell you why it's capped there, but I will say it continues to come up, it is something that will not be forever, but I can't give you a real time horizon on when it's going to change."
Microsoft has previously said the cap is related to connections to the original Xbox. There are issues that will make this problem a growing one for Microsoft, though.
"One, I very much understand why people care so much about that [cap]," said Willet. "Two, I really think that when you look at the phenomenon that is happening around social networks in general, there is such an enormity of connecting with real people, your friends. I think as we bring these social networks on, the pressure will only get greater."
"I don't think that conversation is purposely being put the backburner," he concluded, "but there are technical reasons I can't really articulate for why we are still where we are. It doesn't mean that's how it's going to be forever, though."
For the time being, however, the cap remains at 100 friends. That needs to change.
[image credit: flickr / beer luver]