When the Xbox One launched, many were perplexed at how different the party system was from its nearly perfect 360 counterpart. Microsoft has been aware of this and is taking more steps to improving the Xbox One party system. In the April update we will finally see the return of voice messages. Not only that, but they will work between Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.

There are also some significant improvements coming to the party system and will improve performance and reliability. Many users have been having issues with the Party App crashing, not being able to connect, or not being able to hear other users. Microsoft is introducing dedicated servers to help alleviate those woes where a peer-to-peer connection just will not do. They have also added in-app troubleshooting and notifications that will warn you if your mic is not turned on or if one of your settings blocks others from hearing you and then allows you to quickly navigate to the right menu and fix the issue by clicking on the notification.

These are some solid solutions towards improving the party system and communication. Personally I hope that one day, 360 users will be able to join a party and talk to Xbox One users, but the voice messages is a good first step. The update is scheduled for sometime in April, but here is a list of features in the April Preview update for Preview members and check the demonstration video by Major Nelson:

  • Voice messages New this month is the No. 1 feature requested in the Friends and Parties area on the Xbox Feedback site > “Add audio message …” Xbox One preview program members will be able to compose and playback voice messages in the messages app when snapped on Xbox One. Quickly and easily record audio to send to your friends or others through your snapped messages app accessed through a simple quick double tap of the Xbox button. Additionally, voice messages can be exchanged between Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles.
  • Dedicated servers for party chat – We are committed to continuing to make improvements to party chat, designed to improve quality, reliability, and ease of use. We’re enhancing party chat with dedicated chat relay servers. This new service will enable Xbox One owners that may have historically had NAT issues to party chat more reliably. Parties where players are unable to form direct peer-to-peer connections for party chat will automatically leverage dedicated server infrastructure to relay traffic.
    • Currently, this service is only enabled for parties where one or more members are enrolled in the Xbox One Preview program. Those preview consoles enable the service for their party chat sessions, even if some of the party participants are not part of the preview program.
  • What’s On – The Xbox engineering team is continuing to experiment with the What’s On area, which highlights popular games, movies, TV shows, game broadcasts and clips. What’s On has been available for preview members in the U.S. and this month, the preview of this feature is being expanded to Canada and the UK as well. Additionally, the “Staff Picks” are now more personalized based on your recent game activity, and we’re introducing new experiments with Twitter Trending TV, and Game Clips for subsets of the preview audience.

Source: Xbox Wire