The Xbox One's February Upgrades Seem Nice, But March's Upgrades Are Better

The Xbox One's February Upgrades Seem Nice, But March's Are Better

An "early March" system update for the Xbox One will bring some popular multiplayer features from the Xbox 360 with the intention of improving the multiplayer experience in advance of the launch of Respawn's exclusive, multiplayer-only Titanfall, according to Xbox product chief Marc Whitten.

Those updates will be coupled with some improved stereo headphone support.

In a pair of Xbox One blog posts that we were shown in advance by Microsoft, Whitten outlines the various upgrades set for the system's March update. Highlights, from Microsoft:

Get to your friends list faster. The friends list will be front and center on the homepage of the Friends app. Click the Social tile on Home, or say "Xbox, go to Friends" to see who's online and what they're up to. From there you can quickly send messages and get into a party.

Party chat will be turned on by default. When you party up, chat audio will be turned on by default.

Chat with friends playing different games. Party chat will be separated from people playing your game, so you can chat with your friends who are online or you can chat with everyone playing the game.

We're adding an "Invite friends to game" option to your multiplayer titles moving forward. Similar to Xbox 360 titles, this will appear inside a games' menu and offer a simple and quicker way to set up your multiplayer battles. Selecting "Invite friends" will let you invite friends to your game and party.

We're adding "Recent Players." This is a simple list that shows you Xbox Live members you've recently played with, making it easier to stay in touch with people, or add new friends after your multiplayer battles

It's a bit strange that some of these features, so well-liked on the 360, weren't on the Xbox One from the get-go, but all's well that patches and updates well. Xbox One players have only had to do without them for a few months. In his post, Whitten thanks gamers for their feedback and promises continued improvements.

The Xbox One's February Upgrades Seem Nice, But March's Are Better

Whitten is also announcing the early March release of an $US80 Xbox One stereo headset that includes support for chat and separate volume levels for chat and game audio.

At the same time, Microsoft is also releasing a $US25 stereo headset adaptor that will work with regular stereo headsets with a standard 3.5mm audio jack or Xbox 360 headsets with a 2.5mm audio jack. In either case, the adaptor plugs into the controller to enable chat audio. It does not appear to support hearing game audio, which is only possible through stereo headsets if the headset is plugged into the Xbox One console via an optical cable or if the user is plugging their headset into a separate device, such as a TV or receiver.

The Xbox One's February Upgrades Seem Nice, But March's Are Better

The Xbox One was slated to have its February update today, adding a controller battery indicator to the console's dashboard and an option for managing system storage, among other features. The timing of that update has become a little fuzzier, with Microsoft now simply referring to it as coming this week. [UPDATE: Microsoft's Major Nelson has confirmed that the update will not be hitting today but will arrive this week.] That update is supposed to enable, among other things, background updating that will automate future console updates, if players so desire.

The March update, will just generally promised for early next month, will likely hit in advance of March 11, the day that Titanfall comes out.


    It’s a bit strange that some of these features, so well-liked on the 360, weren’t on the Xbox One from the get-go, but all’s well that patches and updates well.

    It boggles my mind.

      Console was rushed to meet Sony's PS4 release date, they focused on getting the very basics working first (and by basics, I literally mean basics; working dashboard, working friends list, avoid system-crashing bugs).

      As long as we're seeing a system update every month or two with features/fixes that were originally planned, all should be well.

        Yeah, I always expected a lot of updates don't get me wrong. I just never would have expected it to be, IMO, as poor as it was. Saying that, it's the first time I have ever had a console on Day One. It definitely seems as though they know where they need to get back to with features, etc, which is reassuring.

        Even with that you'd think those would have been cut & paste features unless the back end is doing things a lot differently

    How weird is this. Microsoft used to charge publishers 40,000 bucks whenever they wanted to patch their game, using the excuse of, "We don't want developers scamming their buyers by releasing unfinished games then updating them later" and they're basically doing the same thing here.

    and people think I'm an idiot for waiting a year.

      They used to do that, apparently its "only" like $2k now.

        Actually, apparently they dont' charge at all anymore.

      If you want a fully featured, fully functional device then you should be waiting 6-12 months first, anyone calling you an idiot for it doesn't understand what it means to be an early adopter.

      Last edited 12/02/14 12:14 pm

        Unless it's an iPod, iPhone or iPad, then waiting 6-12 months will result in a new model.

          Of course, Apple rarely rush their products to market.

          Or Galaxy or Nexus or whatever. Don't act like Apple are the only ones :)

          A new model that does exactly the same thing, they have lost their innovation

            Along with every phone and tablet since the iPhone was released in 2007.

          Because there is such a scarcity of Android phone models available.

      It's the difference between hardware that functions and then has features added vs people rushing a game out with crippling bugs that needs multiple patches just to work.

      Reminds me of a conversation I had years ago when a random stranger overheard me talking to my friend about the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD format wars. I said I'm waiting for a clear victor before I invest because chances are by the time somebody wins the fight we'll be doing Digital Downloads.

      This guy was furious, and started ranting and raving about how I am holding everyone back and that I'm standing in the middle of the road and that I needed to make a choice or get run over. When he stopped for breath I said I'm not standing in the middle of the road, I'm at the bus stop and I'm sticking with the old reliable Bus because I know where it goes, rather than get on these new expensive buses until I'm sure they will get me to where I'm going.

      Early Adopters seem to have a need for everybody else to follow them, it's hard to brag about being the first guy to get one when it's a failure.

        Early adopters should be patient people who can calmly express their opinion on the current format, recognise the direction they're going with the format and offer suggestions to make achieving that goal smoothly and how to express it to other people.

        People using it to shout "FIRST" either have too much disposable income, or lack anything else in their lives worth mentioning.

        Last edited 12/02/14 1:35 pm

      I guess it depends on how much the price comes down in a year.

      Having just bought an Xbone at launch, in retrospect I might have been better off to wait even just a day or two.
      A couple of games had trouble with their servers (Battlefield) and I think I’m too old and jaded for the nerd-filled midnight launch these days.

      Waiting a year seems a bit extreme though, while you get a better, maybe cheaper product you also lose a year out of the life of the machine plus you aren’t going to play the best versions of some games (Assassins Creed IV ect) which are fine on the new systems. Also it’s not like my product won’t be exactly the same as yours in a years time.

    As long as its all ready for titanfall is all that matters......already been invited to a Xbox titanfall Lan too :D

      Will titanfall have LAN though?

        Not sure but the place we are having it in Yanchep has 100mb speeds, Telstra velocity ? has worked fine with12 person LANs before apparently.

        that was the first question I asked when i got the Invite too.

        Normally at my LANs it isn't a problem because most of us have vivid wireless so we can take our internet with us :D

          I'm guessing you're talking about PC not Xbone?

            Xbox Lan, I've been part of a Xbox Lan club here in Perth about 10 years now

    Can someone post a link to that adapter? Will it work with my 360 turtle beach?

    I know this is silly but I want to be able to see my achievements in a guide menu like on the 360 instead of it dropping me from the game and forcing me to use another menu. The clunkiness of the current interface makes me less interested in achievements, which I know are shallow and pointless in the first place, but I enjoyed them as a way to track my progress in a game. Now I don't even look at them because they're being pushed into the background.

    Last edited 12/02/14 11:41 am

      Yeah. And it does that annoying thing where if you hold the guide button to see an achievement you've just unlocked it takes you to that achievement directly, but if you hit B it takes you back to the main menu rather than back a level in the achievement app to the overall list for the game. There are a few things where the OS/app interaction lands you in a dead end. I know on the store I often find myself trying to get back to the main page for the game I'm looking at and I have to shut down the Store app entirely and reenter it.

        Yes! It's been so long since I looked at my avhievements that I'd forgotten even that. I also find it annoying that one of the most prominent options, when looking at achievements, is to then play the game associated with them - so prominent that you can do it by accident.

        The interface just don't make sense.

          My favourite 360 quirk is opening the menu for a game installed to the hard drive, and after about 5-10 seconds the button rearrange. I've lost track of the number of times I've finished playing a demo, move the cursor to delete it, hit A, and find that the button has magically changed into "Play".

          Last edited 12/02/14 12:04 pm

            Its so unfuriating, use to happen to me so much when trying to 'install' you press Y to go to options see [install] there and the split second it takes you to press A its changed to [play game] so it loads up the game instead, have to boot out and try again.

        Have you tried pressing the Start button (or whatever they're calling it now)? It'll bring up a context sensitive menu that should allow you to go back a level in the app. Not exactly the most intelligent design, but it's there.

          I've been using the context button since it makes a bit more sense when you've been using Windows 8 for a long period of time, but I hadn't realised it would do that, thanks.

      Wait, this isn't how it works?? That's the only way I look at them on 360, the main UI for achievements is a disaster!

      Funny thing is, I'm definitely critical of how they're omitting no-brainer stuff that worked on their previous release... but I'm also critical of how MS have remnants of Windows 95 design in Windows 8 (that network configuration dialogue - WTF do I need to scroll down a fixed size box and double click an item to set the IP address?).

      I guess I'm just critical. Read my mind, Microsoft!

        Heh. That's pretty much how I feel. Although it doesn't take a mind reader for half this stuff. I mean on launch day the XBOX One cared more about telling you what your friends were doing than letting you communicate with them. It was like an over enthusiastic waiter trying to tell you everything you could possibly want rather than taking your order.

      I'd go one step further and say the entire achievement integration has been broken. You can't see it online. You can't see it from WP.

      The new challenges is the only win on that side of the fence - but it's so hard t get to I don't even bother checking.

        Having achievement progress made on the gamer tag rather than the save file is also a pretty nice new feature (when developers choose to use it). I still prefer Crackdown 2/Gears of War 2/etc's in-game tracking but the difference between Dead Rising 3's tracked progression and Tomb Raider's on/off achievements is pretty big.
        I'm on a Surface Pro right now and the Glass app works brilliantly for achievement tracking but I really miss being able to just use the browser. I just don't see why they couldn't replicate the tablet sized Glass functionality in a browser, at least for the simple profile/achievement stuff.

        I'd go one step further and say the entire achievement integration has been broken.You can't see it online. You can't see it from WP.

        You mean using the Smart Glass phone app? I discovered the other day that you can do a lot more from it than it appears at first glance. It has all the full sized tablet Smart Glass functionality it's just not on the Home page where you'd expect it. All the apps and junk it shows on the main page are there to throw you off the scent. They're worthless when you're not in front of your XBOX One so just ignore them.
        Because you can open your XBOX One apps remotely the XBOX One versions of the achievement, friends, messages, etc apps show up there, however if you hit the three bars in the top left hand corner you can go to the Smart Glass functionality.

        In there you can view your friends list, achievements, read/send messages, etc using the Smart Glass app itself without the need to connect with a XBOX One console.

        [Note: I have the iPhone version of the app. I don't see why it'd be different for a Windows Phone given that it's a Microsoft app, but none of their decisions here make any sense. =P]

      UGH! "Achievement unlocked ... Hold (X)" then is takes you a screen that says something like 'press A for details" ... it's like YES XBOX, OF COURSE I WANT TO SEE "DETAILS"! WHY DO YOU THINK I HELD THE GUIDE BUTTON AND LEFT THE GAME FOR???!!!!

    Get to your friends list faster. The friends list will be front and center on the homepage of the Friends app. Click the Social tile on Home, or say “Xbox, go to Friends” to see who’s online and what they’re up to. From there you can quickly send messages and get into a party.

    It sounds like they're doing some good work with it but I can't help but think this is still going to be as slow as opening the Achievements app through an in-game option. There's about a dozen things that need to be moved from apps to core OS features, or at least always open apps.
    I felt that on the XBOX 360 there was way too much slow down waiting for things to load and initialise, and the XBOX One is a hundred times slower when it uses apps.

    I'd kill to be able to configure a custom layout for a 'guide' overlay like the 360 had using app tiles, with the custom tiles able to take parameters to take me directly to sub-sections on activation or display alternative live tile information. As well as being able to keep a guide tile active in the background as though it were in the foreground (ie, it keeps refreshing friends list info, achievement pages, running media, etc so that you can hot swap into it without anything needing to load). Given the structure of the XBOX One OS I don't think all that is that far fetched.

    [Edit: The other thing I want is to be able to set my mic to default to mute. With the XBOX One it's pretty easy to accidentally leave your mic on. With my XBOX 360 I'd just leave my headset muted unless I was talking and it worked pretty well for me. I'd rest a lot easier knowing Kinect and my headset had to be turned on to broadcast.
    That said I love that they're continuing the puck. Those later revisions of the XBOX 360 headsets that used in-line instead of pucks were annoying. I don't wear a button up shirt every time I want to play a game and I don't like clipping it under my chin. =P]

    Last edited 12/02/14 11:59 am

    So do the XB1 headsets work in a 360 controller? I'm guessing not because that'd be convenient but that headset adapter deely would be pretty tempting if it'd work, the 3rd party thing I have now is kind of shite

      Taking into account everything I can get my hands on right now, no. All the existing official XBOX One headsets have built in pucks which won't fit on the XBOX 360 controller. It uses what I'm guessing is a spin-off of micro-USB rather than a simple headphone style jack. They could potentially release the stereo headset with a traditional audio jack and bundle it with a new puck adapter, but I doubt they'll do it that way.

      The upshot of this article is that you would be able to buy a nice third party XBOX 360 headset right now and keep using them after you upgrade to the XBOX One. Although you might want to get someone to clarify whether a XBOX 360 puck will fit into the new XBOX One puck adapter. I really doubt it will. At the very least it's going to look stupid having a double puck so if you go out and buy a third party XBOX 360 headset make sure it has in-line mute/volume rather than a puck (I'm fairly sure they all come with in-line as standard, but it's worth checking).

      Personally I'm going to buy a nice set of PS3/PS4/XBOX 360 compatible wireless headphones when this stuff releases. According to this they should cover all my bases.

        I've already got decent PC phones I want to use, just a matter of needing the adapter to use them with. Oh well, it was a forlorn hope that they'd use the same controller interface anyway really. I'll just have to keep using my cheap chinese adapter and weird mic preamp mashup to get around the impedance imbalance

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