Now that the holiday season is over, Microsoft’s Xbox One is slowly gearing up for another year in its battle with Sony’s PS4 video game console. This morning Microsoft revealed the January Xbox One Update. Not surprisingly, all the features are designed to make Xbox Live a more social place.
Microsoft detailed what’s in the January Xbox One Update this morning in a post on its Xbox Wire news blog. This update contains the first set of new features to arrive since November.
Only members of Microsoft’s Xbox One Preview Program will see these new features arrive over the coming days, as Microsoft uses the program to test features in the real world. Xbox One owners not participating in the Xbox One Preview Program can expect the update to arrive in February – if Microsoft keeps its usual pattern.
In the January Xbox One Update, the Achievement Leaderboard is back. Microsoft has revived the feature and placed it inside the Achievements area of each user’s profile. The original software on the Xbox One included a leaderboard that showcased how many Achievements friends racked up. Like the original version, this new one will track the last 30 calendar days of achievements.
The Community area inside the New Xbox One Experience is Microsoft’s focal point for everything social. Today, that area provides a running list of achievements and status updates from friends over Xbox Live.
The Activity Feed is getting some major upgrades in the January Xbox One Update. Microsoft has integrated suggested followers directly into the feed. Following the update, Xbox One owners will be able to add friends directly from their feed. What’s more, the feed actually lists why that user is being suggested to you. The Activity Feed now knows when there are new posts and invites you to refresh the entire feed to see those new posts. Links take you directly to friends that are broadcasting using streaming service Twitch.
Before joining a Party, players couldn’t see everyone that was present. With this Xbox One Update they can. Pins are available even when users are offline now. Microsoft says that re-ordering and organizing Pins is easier. Users can once again choose to hide some games and apps from their ready to install list in the My Games & Apps area.
Microsoft said some time ago that it was committed to its Avatar characters. With the New Xbox One Experience, Avatars began to appear in more places. Now the company is bringing the Avatar Store to the Xbox One. On notebooks, desktops, tablets and smartphones running Windows 10, the Avatar Store is reachable through the Xbox Avatar app.
Friend suggestions and trending content are all getting behind-the-scenes improvements too. What’s more, Community is getting its own Trending area to help highlight videos, achievements and screenshots. This new area will come to the Xbox app on Windows 10 too.
As always, the January Xbox One Update will be completely free.
Members of the Xbox One Preview Program with automatic updating enabled should find that their console silently updates sometime over the next few days. Users in the program with the feature turned off can expect to be prompted to download the update the next time they start their console.
Again, Xbox One owners outside of the program can expect this Xbox One Update to arrive sometime this February for free. Microsoft hasn’t hinted at what it has planned for its next major Xbox One Update. That being said, the company is still inviting users to submit and vote on new features through its Xbox Feedback website.