Microsoft announced today that it is rolling out Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) to Preview members on Xbox One and the Xbox app for Windows 10. These features were previously announced at E3, alongside another feature, Arena, that is coming soon.
“We know how important the playing environment is to enjoying the games you play,” an Xbox Wire post notes. “We want to give you access to more people to play with as well as choice in how you play. Clubs, LFG, and Arena support our vision for uniting gamers across devices and fostering a welcoming experience on Xbox Live where everyone is included, respected, and supported.”
So what are these features, you ask?
Clubs are groups, or communities, that are created and managed by gamers so that they can coordinate online play. The person who creates a club becomes the club admin, and all club members can chat, set up parties, play games together, and share content with the club across the Xbox One, Windows 10 PCs, and smartphones with the Xbox app.
“Clubs will give gamers a community that they can return to again and again, and a place where shared interests, cultures, and playstyles come together to make connecting with people you love to play with more fun,” Microsoft explains.
Note that club names are unique, so you’ll want to reserve your club name soon. (I reserved “Thurrott”.)
Looking for Group (LFG), meanwhile, is another kind of social destination on Xbox Live, one that will help you find players you don’t already know. It’s like a Craig’s List for Xbox games.
“Need to do daily quests or on the hunt for certain achievements?” Microsoft writes. “We have you covered – just create a LFG post. You’ll be able to add certain requirements to make sure that you’re finding the right gamers. You can specify the game, the game mode, how many people you need, rules like no trash talking or casual friendly, and any other in-game requirements like level, gear or character type.”
Microsoft also announced an Arena feature back at E3 that will provide an eSports experience where Xbox Live subscribers can game competitively. This feature isn’t available today, however. Nor is a feature called Achievement Rarity, which will help explain how rare certain Achievements are.
What is also available are a few other Preview features:
Gamerscore leaderboard improvements. Microsoft has improved the performance and reliability of the Gamerscore leaderboard on Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10. The leaderboard also resets at the beginning of each month instead of displaying the results from the previous 30 days.
Emoji support. The Xbox One virtual keyboard now supports emojis for some reason. “You’ll be able to express your likes, dislikes and more with a host of different emojis on Xbox Live,” Microsoft says. “Once on your virtual keyboard, you can get to emojis by pulling the right trigger until they show up. From there, press and hold on an emoji and you’ll get more versions of the one you’ve selected.”
Tagged with Xbox Live Gold