Microsoft pushed the latest update to the Xbox One on Thursday, just in time for the holiday console deals to start dropping. The ability to easily connect with other gamers is the main push of the update with new built-in social features like Clubs and Looking for Groups (LFG). These same features are also rolling out to the Xbox mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows 10.
“With this holiday update, Xbox Live becomes even more social as we unite gamers across devices, giving you access to more people to play with that share your interests and more choice in how you play. The update also builds upon our vision to foster a welcoming experience on Xbox Live where everyone is included, respected, and supported,” Xbox Partner Group Program Manager Scott Henson explained on Xbox Wire.
The big new features are gamer-created Clubs on Xbox LIVE that can be accessed from the Xbox One or mobile app. There is also the Looking for Group (LFG) option to find other players to team up with in multiplayer co-op or competitive games. The ability to send messages to groups of people has also been added along with emjois for those records. Finally, Achievement Rarity now lets Xbox One owners know how many others found an unlocked Achievement, while an updated Gamerscore Leaderboard allows players to compare their progress with friends on a monthly basis.
These features have been in testing through the Xbox Preview Program since September. The LFG feature found in the Party tab is incredibly useful for games like Destiny, Rocket League, or Battlefield 1, where playing and communicating with others not only improves your chance of success but is required at times. LFG users can even set a date and time for when everyone in the group will get together to tackle their favorite game. There are many third-party websites and mobile apps that do the same, but this is the first opportunity for an in-console option.
Clubs are just like it sounds. This is a place where friends or like-minded people can come together on Xbox One for certain games, genres, or just general interests. Clubs can be created or found from the Friends tab from the left navigation menu or in the Communities tab on the main screen.
These game-run communities can be set for everyone to join as a Public Club, just a select few as a Private Club, or go ultra-exclusive with an invite only Hidden Club. The creator of the Club will have admin rights to manage the messages and content shared in the Club, promote others to admin, and make other necessary changes.
The promised Arena tournament option for the Xbox One did not make this update. It’s also been in testing the last couple of months with the Killer Instinct fighting community.
“We plan to keep Arena in Preview through the holidays to ensure it’s great when we launch it more broadly,” Henson revealed. “We’re excited about the potential of Arena, and continuing to work with developers to deliver a great experience for our fans. We’ll have more to share as we expand the feature and get closer to its launch.”
The Xbox One Holiday Update is rolling out for all Xbox One owners around the world now. If your console has not automatically downloaded it yet, you can always open the guide, go to the Settings screen, and select All Settings. Then choose System, followed by Console Info & Updates, and finally Update Console.
What do you think of the new social features added to the Xbox One via the holiday update? Sound off in the comments below.
[Featured Photo by Amy Sussman/AP Images]