As we’ve covered previously, Microsoft plans to roll out a software update for the Xbox One in early March that’ll add some new goodies; for instance, better Xbox Live friend list functionality. I was fortunate enough to get preview access to the upcoming update, which I’ve been playing with for the past couple hours, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

xbox-one-friendsFirst off, if you’ve grown used to the quick friend list access of the Xbox 360, the update for the Xbox One will help you feel closer to that level of connectedness. While I much preferred pressing the Xbox button to get to the friend list without taking up the whole screen, the changes do mean less button presses to see who’s online and who isn’t.

As you can see to the right, opening the Friends app immediately shows you who is on Xbox Live and filters the rest of your friends into an “Offline” category. This is worlds better than defaulting to the activity feed, where one extremely active person could take over and push everyone else down. Fans of the feed don’t need to fret, though; it’s still on the Friends home page, bumped over one column to the right.

There are also traces of the Xbox One’s Twitch integration showing up. That update, as we also reported, will be coming in time for the launch of Titanfall on March 11. Currently, the Xbox One recognizes the “Xbox, broadcast” command and opens up Twitch. Unfortunately, the Twitch app is still the same app we’ve been using for the past few months. It’s not ready for broadcasting just yet.

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xbox-one-broadcastingAnd this really speaks to how deep the integration is between the Xbox One and Twitch — the Home screen text that tells you how many of your friends are online can also tell you how many friends are currently broadcasting their gameplay.

There are some other changes in the preview, too; mainly some shortcuts in player profiles that make sending messages, party invites and game invites a bit faster. With a major multiplayer game coming in Titanfall, these changes are very welcome.

Have you played with the Xbox One update preview at all? I’d love to get some of your thoughts on it. Leave a comment down below and tell us what you like, what you don’t like and what you think’s missing.


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