Microsoft has always been focused on adding more value to your gaming experience – the social aspect is a big part of it, and Microsoft has decided they can do better.
Xbox Live is getting some new social features that Microsoft says would “bring more choice to how you play games.” Microsoft made it clear they want to improve the social experience of Xbox Live back at E3 2016 in June, it is now that those promises are coming to fruition.
The two big features that are going to start rolling out today for the Xbox Live Preview members are ‘Clubs’ and ‘Looking for Group’ or as Microsoft likes to call it – LFG. Microsoft is also working on something they call ‘Arena’ which will give players an online tournament platform for all skill levels, details though are scarce for now, but more will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Most of these features are not just limited to Xbox One but are also coming to the Xbox App on Windows and Android, so in theory, you could use these features on a PC with an Xbox Live title as well.
Clubs are exactly what they sound like – player-created and moderated communities that could be formed around any interest – maybe you can make a private Club for your college buddies, or perhaps a public Club that focuses on finding easter eggs in games. Clubs are associated with specific games and appear right in the Game Hub, so they are easier to find for people with similar interests.
Clubs also give your community a place to hang out, chat over voice or text and share things outside of gaming. You can also set up parties directly from Clubs quite easily.
Looking for Group
Looking for Group works – as the name suggests – like an advertisement. You get to publicly advertise that you are looking for someone to play a few rounds of Halo with. Once the host of the group is tired of waiting, they can move everyone to a party and start playing.
The host can also set rules for the Group, like “no griefing”. The players who lack the patience of waiting for people as a Group host can also simply browse through Groups made by others, and join the one they like.
The Gamerscore Leaderboard has been around for a while now – but it’s receiving some updates as well. Microsoft will now reset the leaderboard at the beginning of each month – giving players a 30 day period to make newer records, and then deleting all of that hard work so you can out-perform yourself and your friends, every month.
It is also getting a few performance updates to make it load faster and more reliably on Xbox One, and the Xbox App on Windows 10.
While not a major addition, the Xbox One virtual keyboard is also getting emoji support. It’s about time.
Clearly, Microsoft is quite serious about improving the social aspects of gaming on the Xbox platform, and they are building many improvements to make it easier to play with your friends and meet new people. These features are going to first roll out to the Xbox Live Preview members, and in a few weeks – to everyone. Meanwhile, the ‘Arena’ online tournaments platform is still under the wraps while Microsoft is working on it.