Will we go beyond gaming on XBOX 360?

Having just got hold of an XBOX 360 I spent the weekend having fun with HD gaming. A couple of things became evident to me that I was previously unaware of that I thought were worth sharing:

  1. I can view my photos and stream music from my PC with my XBOX 360. And of course, the photos are in fantastic high-definition. I knew that it could act as a media center PC extender, but hadn't realised that you can stream music and photos even without a media center PC (you need to download and install some free software on your PC to do this).
  2. With XBOX live you can download game demos and trailers, and even apply patches. This feels very PC-like, but without all of the fiddly technical stuff. Basically it just works.
  3. Also with XBOX live you can download games that I would class as shareware eg card games, board games, arcade games. In fact, some of the vendors listed here do indeed sell PC shareware eg Pompom. It's great to see this PC tradition on a console.

And what becomes blindingly obvious is the potential here for going beyond gaming. With a high-def TV you can get a decent resolution and I can imagine applications like home banking, shopping, web surfing etc being really viable on this platform. And how about running live.com, or something like it, on XBOX 360? You already need a passport account, it can't be a huge step to some kind of portal that has a whole pile of hosted services. And imagine being able to write your own WinFX apps and run them on XBOX 360. Now that would be something, and with WPF you could build something that suits the consumer-friendly front-end (after all, who want's a WinForm app on their XBOX? Not me).

Let me be clear that I've seen no plans to this effect and have no special insight that the XBOX team is thinking about this, but with my consumer hat on I can see the potential.

Oh and by the way: It's great for games too ;-)