Microsoft is now rolling out the April 2015 System Update for Xbox One, so if you own the console, get it fired up. This month, we see improved achievement notifications and party chat, new game hub links, and the availability of a What’s On area in the Dashboard in certain markets.
Microsoft tested the April update with preview program members last month and issued at least two sets of new features during that time. Here’s what’s new.
Party chat improvements. Microsoft has made a series of improvements to party chat. There are now notifications within the party chat app that will alert you to issues—like “chat is turned off for your Kinect”—and provide ways to fix them (click on the notification to go to the place in Settings where you can fix this problem).
Game hub links. It’s now easier to find and use game hubs. Whenever you see a game-specific item in your activity feed, you can select it and then select the game hub icon to go visit the hub for that game. From the game hub, you can learn more about the game, play or buy the game, follow the game, view the achievements, view leaderboards, and more.
Improved achievement notifications. This is my favorite update this month: When you earn an achievement, the notification that includes the name of the achievement you just unlocked and the number of Gamerscore points provided (as before) will now also animate to provide a description of the achievement. Nice! (You can still press and hold the Xbox button on the controller to snap Achievements on the right of the screen.)
What’s On. With the April update, the What’s On dashboard channel is exiting preview and is generally available in the US, Canada and UK. This area provides curated links to popular videos, games, movies, and TV shows, Microsoft says, plus trending live TV if you use OneGuide.
Two of the features Microsoft previously discussed—voice messaging and party chat with dedicated chat relay servers—are staying with the preview program, which means they’ll be rolled out more broadly in a subsequent update.