Why immersive interface for xbox/ps3

I love playing online, but why do I want to make it a drawn out process just to get to my games with players/friends? I’m not super familiar with Sony’s Home, but now it looks like Xbox live is emulating this idea of avatars “hanging out” online. What am I missing. Is it just another way of socializing online line? Do I have to do this every time I want to meet up and play with my friends?