Starting immediately, Xbox One owners can create parties with more friends voice chatting and talking than they ever could before. Microsoft has quietly updated the Xbox Live Party system to let up to 12 people be in a single party at one time.
Microsoft announced the change late yesterday on its Major Nelson web blog. The feature comes just roughly a week after Microsoft began letting members of the Xbox Preview Program try the New Xbox One Experience and the same week as Sony began pushing out PS4 Update 3.0. PS4 Update 3.0 adds support for Communities and video livestreaming directly from YouTube.
In its post about the update, Microsoft says that technology changes on its back-end mean that users can create a party and invite 11 of their friends to participate. Users can accept invites to parties with 11 other people in them too. Parties are how Xbox Live users collectively join multiplayer games and voice chat with each other over Xbox Live. It’s a core feature of Xbox Live and how people play first-person shooters with their friends.
The changes were effective the moment Microsoft posted about the upgrade. Because it didn’t need to do any work on the actual software running on the Xbox One to upgrade, users won’t need to upgrade the Party app or their Xbox One console at all. The change also applies to Windows 10. That operating system lets users create parties and voice chat with each other while playing PC games too. Xbox One and Windows 10 users can already create Parties together.
The New Xbox One Experience isn’t ready for normal users yet, but Microsoft did reveal some new features coming to it in the same post as today’s Parties announcement. Members of the Xbox One Preview Program who have the New Xbox One Experience installed should get an update over the next few hours that adds new features.
With the New Xbox One Experience, Party members can communicate with each other with text messages for everyone in the Party to see. Before, Xbox One owners could only voice chat within a Party. Microsoft plans to add that to the Xbox app soon.
Today the software that runs on the Xbox One has many pinpoints. One of the biggest has to be the Upload and Upload Studio apps that are required to edit and share video clips. The New Xbox One Experience eliminates upload and combines it with the Game DVR app that was available before. This new app lets users see what they’ve captured and manage when they’re ready to start or stop a recording. Upload Studio seems to still be a separate app that Xbox One owners need.
The Guide that now lets users access notifications and friends from the left side of their screen gets tweaks in this latest preview update too. Users can adjust headset volume and turn their console off directly from the Guide. Avatars, the playful customizable representations of players, are back too.
The New Xbox One Experience is the same software upgrade that adds compatibility with Xbox 360 games. A lot of it has been completely redesigned. Users outside of the Xbox Preview Program won’t get the software update until this coming November. Microsoft plans to add more features and enhance what’s available to users until November.
To start a Party full of people Xbox One users need to navigate to the party app already on the Xbox One. Again, the Party app itself should look the same.