Microsoft is readying the first Xbox One update of 2016. Xbox Preview Program members received an update Tuesday that brings several improvements to the consoles affecting parties, Gamerscore, pins, and much more.
This marks the first update to the Xbox One console since November 2015. The Xbox team took the holidays off to accommodate time off for employees as well as to ensure the console was stable when millions of new owners were coming on board.
The update hitting the Xbox Preview Program includes a number of new features requested by the community. This includes one that is the return of a feature lost when the New Xbox One Experience was launched.
Xbox One owners in the Preview Program will now be able to see who is in a Party before joining it. Additionally, you can check view a friend’s profile in the Xbox guide and see who they are playing with and join their party. The head of Xbox Platform recently previewed this feature on Twitter.
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) January 9, 2016
The Achievements section of an Xbox One user’s profile is being updated with a Gamerscore Leaderboard. This compares your score against your friends over the past 30 days to see who has earned the most points from playing. Ybarra stated in a Reddit post that the same feature will be coming to the Windows Xbox app soon as part of a future update.
A pair of welcome improvements has been made to Pins on the Xbox One home screen. Pins previously disappeared if you were offline for any reason, eliminating their benefit as shortcuts to favorite games and apps. Pins will now appear on the home screen even when the console is offline. Users can now even rearrange the Pins to put them in whatever order they desire.
Another fan-requested feature was one actually lost in a prior update. Xbox One owners can now hide the games, apps, beta, trials, etc that they no long want to install. For those unfamiliar, highlight the game or app you wish to hide on the install page and press the menu button on the Xbox controller. This will bring up a menu with the option to hide.
Other changes include an indicator from the Xbox One Activity feed when new items are added. Similar to the Facebook mobile app, clicking a link will take you to the top of the activity feed, where you can see the latest posts.
The Suggested Friends feature also received an update to provide Xbox One owners with a list of people they may know or may be interested in following on Xbox LIVE.
The following new changes will also be available for both Xbox One Preview Program and the Xbox Beta app on Windows 10.
Avatar Store: Equip your avatar with the latest avatar items in the newly-integrated ‘Avatar Store’. On the console, the Store is built right into the Xbox Avatars app and on Windows 10 PCs and phones, access the Store through the Xbox Avatars app.
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Improvements to Trending: Across Xbox One Preview and Xbox Beta app experiences this month for console and Windows 10 PCs and phones, you’ll notice a new access point for Trending items to the right of the Community tab on your console and in the left menu area of the Xbox app.
Compact mode for Xbox App: With this update to the Xbox Beta app, we’ve moved additional functions to compact mode which will enable you to quickly switch between your friends’ view, your party, messages and activity alerts. A quick click allows you to keep an eye on what your friends are up to, while multi-tasking on your Windows PC!
Microsoft has not announced an exact date when this update will come to all Xbox One owners. It is expected sometime in February, however.
Expect more updates to the Xbox One in the months to come. Some of the big features expected to be added in 2016 include Cortana, DVR functionality, and support for background music, plus a possible facelift to the My Games and Apps and Store sections.
What do you think of this upcoming update for the Xbox One? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Xbox]