It has been a busy few weeks for Microsoft as the company not only unveiled the hardware specs and features for its upcoming console, codenamed Project Scorpio, but teases for its upcoming E3 2017 lineup have also started appearing online as well. While most players look to the near future, Microsoft has released a number of new updates for the Xbox One with a few more still on the way starting today and the next few weeks such as updates to Arena and the addition of Party Overlays.

Originally announced at E3 2016, Arena basically makes participating in eSports available to all Xbox One players regardless of skill level. Thanks to fan feedback since it launched to insiders last fall, Microsoft is preparing to open up the feature even more by adding competitive games like World of Tanks and Killer Instinct, letting Club members create and host tournaments. Halo Wars 2 and Smite tournaments are also on the horizon as well as the first tournament with a prize of $10,000 up for grabs called The Killer Instinct Battle for New York.

Party Overlay on the other hand is another multitasking feature that will tell players who’s speaking in the party without first forcing them to open the guide. Players in a party on Xbox Live can enable the feature, which adds a small overlay on the screen displaying the party member name who is speaking. The overlay simply fades out when no one is speaking and it’s also highly customizable as well, letting players determine its position on the screen or how transparent it is.

Lastly, the Xbox One is receiving a number of fan-requested updates as well centering around quality of life additions. Some of these enhancements include the ability to unfollow a Club or Game Hub directly from the Activity Feed, player profiles displaying Arena tournament history and upcoming tournaments, along with the option to select the audio input and output sources for Party chat from the Xbox app on Windows 10.

These updates come on the heels of the recent overhauls made to the Xbox One dashboard, which aimed to make the UI easier to navigate but also get players to their content faster. While those updates have been generally praised by the community, not everyone is thrilled about the upcoming plan to add a digital refund service to the console. While Microsoft believes this system will help players take a chance on games they ultimately would not have purchased anyway, certain Indie developers are worried that some people may try to abuse the system especially with narrative-based games that may not offer a lengthy campaign.

What do you think of these upcoming feature enhancements? What other features are you hoping to see added to the system at some point?

Source: Major Nelson

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