As far as features go, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are locked in a kind of virtual arms race. Since the two systems premiered in 2013, both Sony and Microsoft have been playing a game of one-upmanship, trying to make sure that their respective consoles can do everything their competitors can – if not more.
Just last month, the Xbox One finally got its long-requested cross-game screenshot feature, something that PlayStation 4 owners have been enjoying for months. Sony retaliated by adding suspend mode, which allows players to turn off the system without losing any in-game progress; of course, that was supposed to be a launch feature, and it’s something that the Xbox One has been able to do for over a year and a half.
With the Xbox One’s April update, Microsoft ups the ante again. As revealed in a preview hosted by Larry Hryb, aka Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, and Xbox Engineering Team member Richard Irving, the console’s latest update offers a series of small under-the-hood performance tweaks, as well as a number of changes aimed at improving communication between users.
Notably, the April update introduces one of the Xbox One’s most requested features: voice messages. Once the update hits, users will be able to open the messaging app and leave other players pre-recorded messages using either the Kinect or the Xbox headset. Even better, these messages work across platforms, meaning that Xbox One owners can talk with Xbox 360 gamers with absolutely no obstacles.
The Xbox One’s party chat will also receive a few tweaks. Most importantly, party chat will use dedicated servers if users’ network settings are causing problems, eliminating the need for users to adjust their network themselves (this feature will only enter testing in April; the full release has no scheduled release date). Additionally, party chat errors will be much easier to solve. Post-update, the Xbox One will notify players if their microphone is accidentally turned off or if the console is experiencing connection errors.
The console will also alert users when their privacy settings are getting in the way of chatting. For example, some users only allow chat among people on their friends list. Sometimes, this causes problems: for example, if friends of a friend enter party chat, the user with more restrictive privacy settings won’t be able to hear them. In that case, the Xbox One will issue an alert, prompting the user to change their privacy settings, or just add the users to their friends list.
Other updates include more detailed achievement notifications (now, the achievement’s description will be included in the alert), as well as more transparency in the Xbox One’s Game Hubs. Individually, none of these additions or updates are groundbreaking, but together they add up, making the Xbox One dashboard an even more fluid and user-friendly experience.
Source: Xbox Wire