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Following the announcement about next month's Games With Gold lineup, Microsoft rolled out a preview for April's Xbox One update. So, what's new with the Xbox One in April? A few things.
In a preview video on Major Nelson's blog, Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb went through some of the details with Xbox engineer Richard Irving. Check it out:
Some of the features will improve the console's under-the-hood performance, while others are actually far more useful for the average user.
For instance, voice messages are now an option. Users can record short messages (with questionably low quality based on what was demonstrated in the video) and can send them to friends or rivals. I think the real highlight for me is that the new voice messages can be sent between Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners. Cross-platform compatibility! Finally!
In regards to cross-platform support, Microsoft could have garnered a ton of extra brownie points by allowing gamers to play certain exclusives between Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners. I mean, could you imagine being able to play Halo or Gears of War between seventh-gen and eighth-gen consoles? Even if it was through a streaming service like PlayStation Now, that could have been a huge selling point for the Xbox One.
But alas, cross-platform compatibility was not meant to be. Though, Sony has used it on the PS Vita, PS3 and PS4.
The Xbox One's April update also includes new party chat features. Gamers can now customize how they engage with others through the party service. For instance, party chat can be limited to those who are friends in your group. This way, you don't have hear the other people in the party if you don't know who they are. A little exclusionary? Maybe. But having options is better than not having options.
Speaking of party chat, Microsoft has a dedicated server setup for those experiencing latency issues when it comes to party communication. The operating system will check your ping and offload some of the server stress to Microsoft's dedicated system.
There are also some refinements being made to “What's On,” a feature that finds related content, movies, music, and media through the Xbox One.
The April update rolls out with a pretty big Games With Gold campaign. Microsoft is giving away six games in the month of April. Xbox One gamers are getting two free games: Pool Nation and Child of Light, the latter of which is a highly celebrated game for its graphics and aesthetics.
You can learn more about the April system update for the Xbox One by paying a visit to the official Major Nelson website.