Following the February update, Microsoft today began rolling out the Xbox One March update, which features “many new features and improvements, most significantly to our party and multiplayer systems.” The new version is meant as preparation for the launch of the high-anticipated title Titanfall, which goes on sale on March 11 in the US and on March 13 in Europe.
Here’s a long list of what’s new:
- Get to your friends list faster: The friends list is now 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: When you party up, chat audio will be turned on by default.
- Chat with friends playing different games: Party chat is now separate from people playing your game, so you can chat with your friends who are online or you can chat with everyone playing the game.
- “Invite friends to game” option has been added to multiplayer titles. 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.
- “Recent Players” has been added to show you Xbox Live members you’ve recently played with, making it easier to stay in touch with people, add new friends after your multiplayer sessions, or report a player for bad behavior.
- Dolby Digital sound: Optical out now supports 5.1 Dolby Digital, enabling devices such as sound bars and headsets with only optical in. Support for Dolby Digital surround sound over HDMI has also been added.
- Support for 50Hz output to Xbox One: You can set the live TV app to display at 50Hz for full or fill modes, fixing the frame rate issues some users in Europe have been experiencing while watching live TV on Xbox One.
- Volume up/down adjustments: You can now tailor the number of volume increments when using “Xbox volume up” or “Xbox volume down” voice commands.
- SmartGlass: Receive notifications for Xbox Live messages, check out what your friends are doing, and see their latest highlight clips. You can even unsnap apps with the tap of a finger – all from your mobile device.
- Support for new Xbox One accessories: Xbox One now supports the recently announced Xbox One stereo headset and adapter, Xbox One media remote with a dedicated OneGuide button, as well as third- party headsets.
- Browser improvements: When you’re searching for content, there’s now a direct link to IE to see related results on the Web. New gesture and controller features let you directly zoom and pan Bing and Google Maps. You can now just highlight a phrase on a page and press the menu button to search Bing.
- IR blasting of power and volume to TVs/AVRs is now available in all regions.
- Easy sound bar setup: You no longer need to type in the model number for most sound bars or AVRs when setting up TV on Xbox One.
- General improvements: Last, but not least, a few miscellaneous update the ability to view Game Clips while in Snap mode and a new passkey feature to protect user settings.
One thing that you will notice missing from this list is Twitch TV live streaming support; that’s coming on March 11 with the new Twitch app: just say “Xbox broadcast” to start sharing. As for other features, Microsoft mentioned it is working on external hard drive storage support and friends notification improvements, but no telling when those will arrive.