In April, Microsoft will update Xbox One with a number of new features, many of which are being tested now by preview program members. Here’s a peek at what you can expect to see in the April 2015 System Update for Xbox One.
Some of these features actually started rolling out to Xbox One preview program members last weekend. But with a second setting of preview updates, we now have a more complete understanding of what to expect next month. And the coming new features include:
Voice messages. The “number one feature requested in the Friends and Parties area on the Xbox Feedback site” is coming in April: you will be able to compose and listen to voice messages in the Messages app when snapped to the side of the screen. Better still, voice messages can be exchanged between Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles too.
Party chat improvements. Microsoft is enhancing party chat with dedicated chat relay servers, which should provide better performance and reliability, especially for those users who have been experiencing NAT issues. So if you’re in a party where one or more players were previously unable to form direct peer-to-peer connections because of an incompatible router, party chat will now automatically use dedicated servers to relay traffic. (Why Xbox One users are still dealing with NAT issues in 2015 is beyond me.) Additionally, party chat is getting troubleshooting guidance.
What’s On improvements. The What’s On area highlights popular games, movies, TV shows, game broadcasts and clips, and this month it is being expanded to Canada and the UK. And Staff Picks are how personalized based on your recent game activity.
Game hubs are more accessible. Game hub content is more accessible in the activity feed, and you will see activity feed items whenever a friend follow a game. Additionally, you’ll be able to return to a game hub from activity feed posts related to the game. And you can access a game hub directly from the game’s achievements view.
Achievement notification improvements. Achievement notifications will finally include a description of the achievement so you don’t need to open the Achievements app to figure out what you just did. But if you do wish to select the notification to see more in the app, Microsoft improved performance so that the app loads faster now.
Sitting here almost a year and a half into Xbox One’s lifetime, I’m a bit surprised that we see such sweeping improvements each month. But I suppose by this point, we’ve moved into improvements that were not so much sorely lacking at launch—as so much was initially—but are rather seeing new features that are obvious only with usage. I do love seeing this level of activity. But it makes me wonder too.