April is here, and it comes with a feature-packed update to Xbox One. We unveiled some of these new features on the premiere episode of Inside Xbox last month (and I did a walk through of the features on Inside Xbox episode 2). This month, we’re announcing that they’ll become available to Xbox One owners around the world over the next few days. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

Video & Display

We’ve added a bunch of new video features we hope you’ll enjoy, starting with Auto Low-Latency Mode (or ALLM for short). Auto Low-Latency Mode enables the family of Xbox One devices to notify your display when you’re playing a game, so a TV that also supports ALLM will know to switch to its low latency video mode. Many displays refer to low latency mode as “game mode.”

Gamers will also enjoy the newly introduced support for variable refresh rate output to AMD Radeon FreeSync and FreeSync 2 compatible displays. AMD Radeon FreeSync is a form of variable refresh rate which helps to reduce input latency and minimize display stuttering, delivering a buttery-smooth visual gameplay experience in your favorite games. The entire Xbox One family of devices will work with FreeSync-certified displays. Xbox One S and Xbox One X will also support high dynamic range with AMD Radeon FreeSync 2.

In addition, Xbox One X and Xbox One S now support output at 2560 x 1440 (1440p) resolution for games and media. With over a million and a half more pixels than 1080p, this resolution offers even more choice between Full HD and 4K displays. This feature should be especially appealing to Xbox One owners who use a 1440p display for PC gaming. Media apps can now add an option for 1440p output for on both Xbox One X and Xbox One S.  Developers can also now enable games to run at native 1440p resolution on Xbox One X.

You can enable all these video options from the Settings menu on your Xbox One.  Just navigate to “Display & Sound,” then “Video Output.” Note that you’ll only be able to turn on these settings if your TV or monitor supports them.

Streaming & Captures

This month, we’re also introducing a new Mixer Interactive feature called Share Controller. Mixer streamers on Xbox One can now share control of their game with a viewer on Mixer.com. Just turn on the “Share Controller” toggle from the Broadcast & Capture section in Guide and your viewers will be able to share control through a virtual controller in their web browser, or by plugging a physical controller into their PC.

You can also now start Mixer broadcasts from anywhere on Xbox One, making streaming easier than ever. If you decide to switch games or exit to the dashboard, your viewers will see a pause animation until you jump back into a game. You will also see a pause animation on your broadcasting status bar on your screen.

In addition, you can now share captured screenshots and clips directly to Twitter, after authenticating your account, from the Broadcast & Capture tab of the Guide. Shared captures will now display and play directly in your Twitter feed instead of showing up as a link. We’ll also help you get your content discovered by suggesting a hashtag for the title of the game. Want to follow clips shared by Xbox gamers? Track clips with the #XboxShare hashtag!

Xbox Insiders have seen this option for a while, but now everyone can choose to switch between light and dark themes on your Xbox One based on the time of day. You can also personalize your theme to automatically transition from dark to light based on sunrise and sunset in your location. We’ve also added a new high-contrast light theme option, which makes on-screen elements easier to see.

Audio & Ease of Access

Based on fan feedback, we’re making additional improvements to Narrator on Xbox One. Narrator volume can now be adjusted independently from system audio volume. We’ve also introduced a new input learning mode to the Narrator menu. With input learning mode enabled, the Narrator on Xbox One will say the name of whatever button you press on an attached input device. High contrast light theme and narrator options can both be adjusted in the Ease of Access menu in Settings.

If you love to stream music while gaming, you will be happy to hear that you can now selectively balance game audio against background music within the Guide. Simply navigate down to the app that is playing background music in the Guide. Press “A” to open a new flyout with additional music controls, including a new slider that will allow you to adjust the balance of background music and game audio.

We’ve also made audio enhancements in the Xbox One dashboard itself. System sounds on Home and in the Guide have been completely revamped to support spatial audio, so the audio cues from your surround sound system will match the actions you see on-screen.

Apps

The Microsoft Edge browser on Xbox One has been updated to a more modern look and feel. Enhancements to history and favorites make it easy for you to get back to your favorite sites. Other new features include tab muting, read aloud and autofill. You can also now download and upload pictures, music, and videos from Microsoft Edge on Xbox One; your downloaded content can then be browsed with the File Explorer app.

Clubs, Game Hubs & Tournaments

Community tournaments are now available directly in Game Hubs for supported games. This means you no longer need to own or be the admin of a club to create a tournament.  To get started, open the Game Hub for a game that supports tournaments.  Head to the “Multiplayer” tab and select “Community tournaments” then choose the option for “Create tournament.”

Club feeds have also gained new filters to show you “what’s new,” “what’s hot” or “top posts.” Additionally, you can now lock the comments on your feed posts across clubs, Game Hubs, and Community, so the only person in control of the narrative is you.

If you’re a club owner or admin, you can now filter invitation requests based on several criteria, including Gamerscore, play time, reputation, Xbox Live Gold status, and recommendations from club members. Club invitation filters will persist until the administrator changes them, so if you set or edit club invitation filters, they will still be there the next time you sign-in.

In addition to all these new features on Xbox One, a subset of users may also see additional experimental features that we didn’t mention here. These features are only enabled for a portion of the Xbox audience to gauge interest and collect feedback.

Many of our Xbox Insiders have already had the chance to play with these features. If you would like to join them, getting started as an Xbox Insider is easy! Just download the Xbox Insider Hub app on your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC and select your desired ring. Visit the Xbox Insider blog here for release notes.

Mike Ybarra, Corporate Vice President of Xbox Platform Engineering, discusses the next Xbox update releasing to Alpha Ring Insiders starting today. Watch the video and read his comments about the update below:

It’s an exciting day at Team Xbox as Xbox Insiders in the Alpha Ring will get a first look at the latest Xbox update. This release is the next major update for gaming on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is designed to make the Xbox gaming experience more fun, personalized, and social than ever. We’ve heard feedback from our fans that they want the ability to customize Home the way they want. This new experience on Xbox One gives gamers more choice and delivers fun faster. Updates to Home, Guide and Community are available today, with updates to Avatars, Game Hubs, Profiles and more coming this fall. Windows 10 PCs will also receive updates to the Game bar and Gaming settings menu. Here’s a detailed look at some of the new features that will arrive for Xbox Insiders starting today and continuing throughout the next few months:

Customize Your Home: The first thing Insiders will notice is the new Home on Xbox One. This update is all about personalization; we’re putting the control in your hands, so that you can decide what to see when you turn on your console. The new look and feel is part of a design system called Microsoft Fluent Design; the look, feel, and movement of the dashboard has been updated to focus on speed, customization and expression—for you. Now, customize your Home screen to be uniquely yours, and view all the things you love at-a-glance. Have a favorite game or friend? Add them to Home!  Select one, press the Menu button on your controller, and select “Add to Home.”  This now creates an entire block of content that can be moved up or down—or removed altogether, should your interests or habits change. These blocks will evolve over time based on the things you like to do. For example, adding a game to your Home screen may pull in an Activity Feed post from the developer, show when your friends are playing that game online, suggest your next Achievement, and provide a quick shortcut to the Game Hub for that title. We’ll be adding additional types of content blocks in the coming months, so stay tuned for more. The team is always pushing to make the Xbox experience faster and faster. In this release, we’ve eliminated the wait between Home, Social, and My Games and Apps by consolidating them into one dashboard experience. No more splash screens means you get to fun even faster.

Effortless Guide Navigation: With this update, it’s faster than ever to switch between tabs in the guide so you can join friends, broadcast, switch between apps, and get back Home. New tab flyouts make it easier to see more content quickly, too. The new Guide layout quickly gets you to the stuff you care about, so you never miss a moment. It’s now even easier to switch between apps or get back to Home, and the new layout will enable you to quickly jump to different tabs using the left thumbstick, d-pad, or bumpers on your controller. Sign-in, Achievements, multiplayer (including parties, Looking for Group, and tournaments), People, Home and recent messages, broadcasts and captures, and a new action center (including settings) each have their own tab in the new Guide.

A More Immersive Community: Staying connected with Friends and Clubs is now better than ever. The community section has an entirely new Activity Feed layout, showing more content at-a-glance.  When looking at feed items in detail, they are presented in an immersive, full-screen view—sharing the experience just as it was captured.  Reading comments is now much easier since the comment window can be expanded to fill the screen. You’ll now be able to skim the feed quickly or lean back on the couch and walk through it in detail – it’s entirely up to you. This makes it easier than ever to stay current with the games and friends you care about. Game Hubs, Profiles, and Clubs are also refreshed to make them more dynamic and engaging than ever before.  We’re also making Improvements to Club discovery, to quickly display which Clubs you’re already a part of, and easily discover new Clubs to join.  There will also be new titles that will be coming to Arena over the next few months, soon offering even more options for tournaments powered by Xbox Live.

Game Bar Gets Even Better: On Windows 10, we’re making it easier than ever to enable or disable Game Mode on a per-game basis by putting a switch directly in the Game bar. Mixer broadcasting with the Game bar will now give you more choices on the audio you broadcast; a new settings option will let you choose to broadcast game-only audio, or system-wide audio.  We’ve also added a new Xbox Live Network Troubleshooting option to the Settings menu in Windows 10, which will help you track down connectivity issues and optimize your online multiplayer experience.

This is just the beginning of some major updates arriving for Xbox gamers later this year.  We’ll be introducing plenty of new features in the coming months across Xbox One, Windows 10 PC, Mixer, and mobile devices designed to make your gaming experiences all about you. As always, we owe some big thanks for all the fan feedback we receive and review from gamers everywhere, as well as to the invaluable members of our Xbox Insider Program for all the feedback they provide regularly. We’ll be sharing more when the update releases to more fans later this year. The team has worked hard, and we hope you enjoy these latest updates to your Xbox One experience! And of course, don’t forget to tell us what you think.

Today, we’re starting to roll out several feature updates inspired by your feedback to the broader community. These features launched to Xbox Insiders last month, and we’re excited for the broader community to start using them today. Over the past few months, we’ve released brand new features including Beam broadcasting through the Guide on Xbox One and the Game bar on Windows 10, the Beam viewing app to watch streams on Xbox One, Game Mode on Windows 10, and a preview of Xbox Game Pass. In addition to adding exciting new features, the team has been hard at work continuing to update existing features based on what we hear from you at Xbox Feedback.

Before jumping into a summary of what’s starting to roll out today, we wanted to share that we’re still preparing to release World of Tanks tournaments on Xbox One, created by ESL and powered by Arena on Xbox Live to select Xbox Insiders soon. The team is continuing to refine and evolve the feature so we can gather the feedback we need while it’s in preview to make sure it’s a great experience when it rolls out broadly.

The team is also still working hard to ship several other features to the broader community, including the ability to select the audio input and output sources for Party chat on the Xbox app for Windows 10, Kinect auto-zoom for Beam and Twitch broadcasts, and Captive Portal support for wireless internet on your Xbox One. We’ll have more news to share soon, so stay tuned!

Now, here’s what’s starting to roll out today on Xbox One:

Profile and Activity Feed

  • New ‘Join broadcast’ button in your profile, one of the many ways to access the game stream of someone broadcasting their gameplay.

  • In your Activity Feed, we’re adding the ability to hide individual posts, pin posts to the top of your feed, and filter posts by friends, games or Clubs.

Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) 

  • When you create an LFG post, as the owner you will be able to see new vetting cards that include hero stats from gamers interested in joining your party. Hero stats are contextual to the game you’re playing, showing you relevant stats like kill/death ratio, rank, or score.
  • Achievement hunters, this one is for you! You will be able to search LFG posts from the Achievements tab, related to the Achievement you’re trying to finish.
  • We’re adding the number of open LFG posts to the Game Hub and Club Hub headers.
  • Have you made a successful LFG post that you want to create again? Now you can see previous LFG posts that you have created, participated or shown interest in, and can copy them to create new posts.
  • When creating an LFG post, see all the recent tags you’ve used and easily select them.
  • Club owners and admins will be identified and labeled in their text posts to better help them stand out and manage their community.
  • Club owners and admins can pin a post at the top of their Club feed.

My Games and Apps, and Settings

  • In ‘My Games and Apps,’ we’re adding the ability to filter your game library by platform – Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The team is really excited for you to try out all of the updated and new features, and please let us know what you think at Xbox Feedback. Thank you!

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Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live will be launching to the broader community soon on Xbox One and the Xbox app, giving you access to more people to play with and more choice in how you play. To make sure you hit the ground running and make the most of Clubs and LFG, we sat down with two engineers on the Xbox team to share walkthrough tutorials on the features and chat about their experiences helping bring them to life.

Clubs on Xbox Live | Jasmine Lawrence – Program Manager

Q. Before we dive in, can you tell the readers a little about yourself?

A. I’ve been working on team Xbox for three and a half years. I started here as an intern on the team and came back right out of college to help launch the first Xbox One console. My Gamertag is ‘Iam Full of WIN.’ I am a very competitive Achievement hunter that spends most of my time playing puzzle platformers or indie games.

Q. So what is Clubs on Xbox Live?

A. Clubs are gamer-created and managed groups that can help you meet people and grow communities of gamers who love the same things you do. Anyone can join or create a Club, and you’ll probably see a Club for just about anything. It’s a way for gamers to connect and have fun with other people that share the same interests. I think Clubs are important because they create communities that you can go back to again and again to hang out with similar people, which makes your gaming experience even better.

Q. What was your most memorable moment working on Clubs?

A. The most memorable moment for me was when we first released to Preview and within days there were thousands of Clubs. It was amazing to see people using the feature and getting great feedback on what we could do next.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of helping bring Clubs to Xbox Live?

A. The most challenging aspect of Clubs was scoping the feature set or picking what we would build out for the feature’s launch. There are literally hundreds of suggestions from gamers, our research team and even fellow gamers on Team Xbox on what we could do for this holiday. It was tough to pick the right ones to release for our Xbox Holiday Update.

Q. Where do you and the team see Clubs going in the future?

A. Clubs has incredible potential to change the way people play. In the future, we hope to integrate more with features like Arena and the Gamerscore Leaderboard, and provide even more opportunities for gamers to share and advertise their Clubs to friends and potential new members.

Q. Does Clubs look different from what the team originally envisioned for the feature?

A. It’s not too different from what we imagined Clubs would look like, but we have been surprised by the trends in how people have been using them. We are proud of the diversity of the type of Clubs that have been created. From the ‘Anime’ Club and ‘Awesome Screenshots’ Club, to the ‘Meeting New Gamers’ Club, people are coming together on Xbox Live and connecting to play their favorite games or share content based on their interests.

Q. Any tips for gamers using Clubs for the first time?

A. If you’re new to clubs, I would recommend checking out our Club Discovery area to find a Club based on games you are currently playing or check out the Clubs your friends are in by going to the ‘Following & clubs’ section on their profile. I’d also encourage users to make a Club that fosters the culture they want if they don’t find what they’re looking for via search. There are millions of gamers out there and Clubs is a great way to bring people together.

 

Looking for Group | Keith Kline – Program Manager 

Q. Can you share some of your background with the readers?

A. I started at Microsoft in 2000 right after I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Computer Engineering. I’ve been on the Xbox Live team for almost 10 years now, currently on the multiplayer team. My Gamertag is Kramer, which I’ve been using since the original Xbox Live beta launched. I play a lot of different game genres varying from FPS, sports, platformers and puzzle games. If it’s on Xbox Live, I’ll probably try it. One of my favorite gaming moments happened a few years ago, when I was crowned the Super Bowl champion of a Madden tournament among the Xbox Live team (32 team members played through an entire NFL season and playoffs).

Q. Can you explain what LFG is?

A. Looking for Group, also known as LFG, helps you quickly find other players that you want to game with. It’s essentially like posting a gaming “want-ad” to the Xbox community. Whether you want to Achievement hunt, play a co-op campaign for Gears of War 4, or do a daily quest, with LFG, you can set the requirements you want to get the right group together. And it works for all Xbox One games, all Backward Compatible Xbox 360 games, and a growing list of top PC games.

Q. What was your most memorable moment working on LFG?

A. I would say both the community reaction to our E3 announcement and when Preview members started to use the feature. The feedback was very positive, and seeing it used in the different ways we intended it to be used for was extremely satisfying. The stories we’ve heard from gamers who’ve had great LFG experiences are priceless.

Q. What was the most challenging aspect of helping bring LFG to Xbox Live?

A. We wanted to make sure this feature could be used for all games on Xbox Live, not just the newest and most popular games. Making it easier to group up for the latest games, while also giving gamers tools to breathe new life into their old favorites was a goal of ours. Finding that balance was difficult, but we feel the end result delivers a powerful feature on top of something most gamers are already comfortable doing.

Q. Where do you and the team see LFG going in the future?

A. Some of the things we’d like to do is acknowledge great LFG hosts, improve scheduled LFGs with more options, and give hosts access to more data when vetting applicants. But the highest priority improvements will be the ones the gamers ask for, so keep the feedback coming. The community has been great about providing feedback while LFG has been in Preview, and we’ll continue to listen and evolve LFG once it’s available broadly.

Q. Does LFG look different from what the team originally envisioned for the feature?

A. I think if you look back at the goals we had in mind when deciding to build this feature, the team did a great job of executing on that vision. Like most healthy teams, compromises and tough cuts had to be made. But I think for the most part, the final result is something the whole team is proud of and is really giving gamers a great way to find people to play with. Of course, we are not planning on stopping here, so we will continue to add features to LFG.

Q. Any tips for gamers using LFG for the first time?

A. If you are new to using LFG, I would suggest searching for an LFG to apply for rather than hosting your own. Go to the Game Hub of the game you want to play, and find an LFG that matches what you want to do. Get a feel for your experience when joining someone else’s LFG, and then use that to decide how you might want to control your own experience.

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On the heels of Xbox’s summer update, the team and I are thrilled to announce Clubs and Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live will start rolling out to Preview members on Xbox One today and on the Xbox app on Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices soon. As we shared at E3, we have been working hard to deliver new features that bring more choice in how you play games, which includes Clubs, LFG, and Arena on Xbox Live. While you can start enjoying Clubs and LFG today, you can look forward to more news about Arena, our online tournaments platform for gamers of all skill-levels, in the coming weeks.

As gamers ourselves, we know how important the playing environment is to enjoying the games you play. We want to give you access to more people to play with as well as choice in how you play. Clubs, LFG, and Arena support our vision for uniting gamers across devices and fostering a welcoming experience on Xbox Live where everyone is included, respected, and supported.

Here is a little more about Clubs and LFG – two great new social destinations that will improve your gaming experience – as well as a glimpse into other features starting to roll out today and in the coming weeks.

Clubs on Xbox Live

Clubs are gamer-created and managed groups that can help you meet people and grow communities of gamers who love the same things you do. Anyone can join or create a Club and you’ll probably see a Club for just about everything. For example, I created a Club for all my college buddies so we can keep in touch and coordinate competitive Halo gaming nights.

As a Club member, you’ll be able to set up parties, play games, share content, and easily communicate using voice and text chat with the Club across Xbox One and the Xbox app. You can search for Clubs (or create your own) in the Community tab on Xbox One and the Clubs section on other devices, and Clubs associated with a game will be accessible in the title’s Game Hub. As a Club admin, you’ll have the tools to ensure that everyone is having a great time and help create a lively and inclusive environment. Reserve your Club name today as no two can be the same!

Update 01

Looking for Group (LFG) on Xbox Live

LFG helps you quickly find other players that you want to game with. It’s like posting a gaming “want-ad” to the Xbox community. Need to do daily quests or on the hunt for certain achievements? We have you covered – just create a LFG post. You’ll be able to add certain requirements to make sure that you’re finding the right gamers. You can specify the game, the game mode, how many people you need, rules like no trash talking or casual friendly, and any other in-game requirements like level, gear or character type.

A quick primer on how LFG works: gamers can browse open LFGs and request to join the ones that they’re interested in. The LFG host chooses from the list of gamers who have expressed interest and, once the group is full or the host is ready, the host can quickly get those people into party chat and start playing. Quick, easy, and simple. Whether you’re playing a FPS on Xbox One or your favorite PC title, you can quickly find other gamers to play with on Xbox Live. As with Clubs, Preview members will start seeing LFG on Xbox One today and on the Xbox app in the coming weeks.

Update 02

In addition to Clubs and LFG and on Xbox Live, we’re also pleased to share that Preview members can start enjoying a few other features starting today:

Gamerscore Leaderboard. The Gamerscore Leaderboard on Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10 devices is faster and more reliable. The Leaderboard also now resets at the beginning of each month instead of displaying results for a 30-day rolling period, meaning you and your friends will have a clean slate to compete against one another at the start of each month! You can keep an eye on the Gamerscore Leaderboard through the Achievement tab or by using the guide.

Update 03

Emojis for your Xbox One virtual keyboard.  Emojis will be joining your virtual keyboard on Xbox One! In addition to the existing alphabet and symbols that you can use, you’ll now be able to express your likes, dislikes and more with a host of different emojis on Xbox Live. Once on your virtual keyboard, you can get to emojis by pulling the right trigger until they show up. From there, press and hold on an emoji and you’ll get more versions of the one you’ve selected.

Whether you’re playing on an Xbox One or using the Xbox app, we’d love to hear what you think; be sure to let us know at Xbox Feedback! Stay tuned for more details about Arena and additional features like Achievement Rarity (ever wondered how truly epic an achievement that you earned is?) as we continue to bring more features to Preview and march towards our exciting holiday update.