This morning, Microsoft rolled out its latest system update for Xbox One. The patch is loaded with new features, several of which could drastically change the community dynamic on Xbox Live.
The March update includes a slew of items that users have been looking forward to since the console was released in 2013. Screenshots, for instance, are finally available. Now gamers have the ability to capture in-game stills by double tapping the controller's Xbox button or saying "Xbox Take a Screenshot." The pictures can be managed in the Upload app along with any video clips that have been captured. And sharing them on Twitter only takes a few clicks.
Microsoft also added a "Suggested Friends" feature, which is similar to the "People You May Know" option on Facebook. Essentially, the Xbox will recommend people based on your current relationships or interests. Most of the app's suggestions will be based on mutual friendships, but you should also expect to see links to "top community broadcasters and clip creators."
Xbox One owners will also have access to a slightly upgraded Party Chat system. A trio of new icons was added, which illustrate the player's microphone status. Here's how Microsoft describes the icons:
The latest update also allows users to adjust the transparency levels on their tiles, showing off that fancy background, and report spam from within the Messages app. Plus, Microsoft added a new privacy setting for users who may not want to share their voice search data. You'll probably want to uncheck that from your online safety menu.
However, the most significant update is probably the name-sharing feature. Now users have the ability to share their real name with friends, family members, and serial killers.
Here are the details:
We’re rolling out two new ways to share your real name; with all of your friends or to everyone in the Xbox Live community. You can also continue to share your real name with select friends, or with no one, if that’s what you prefer. Gamertags are still the primary method of identifying yourself on Xbox Live, but sharing your real name helps people recognize you who might not know you by your gamertag. The new name sharing options can be found under Friends, then My profile, then Name sharing settings.
Real names have been a controversial issue in the gaming community. Some players believe that requiring gamers to use their actual names would force hostile players to be more civilized. And others would rather remain anonymous because they don't feel comfortable sharing their personal information with a cauldron of hostile teenagers.
Both perspectives obviously have some merit.
Sony and Microsoft have both considered a real name requirement in the past, but the gaming community has been vocally opposed to the idea. Allowing players to select their preferred setting is a solid compromise, but it gives the trolls a distinct advantage.
Either way, I'm up for it. Who's with me?