Remember about a month ago when Microsoft said it was listening to user feedback on Xbox One? Well, it seems like they're going to be acting on it. Some of it, anyway.
The first major firmware update will have a strong focus on fixing Xbox One's social features, which are regarded by many users as somewhat clunky and unintuitive in their present form. It's a fair criticism -- with important core features such as your friends list, party options, avatars and achievements all split into separate apps, it can sometimes be a rather cumbersome process to perform actions that were pretty simple on the Xbox 360.
"Some of the social stuff is hidden or harder to use than it was on the Xbox 360," Microsoft's Marc Whitten admitted to Engadget last night. "As a person who's been pretty involved in building Xbox Live for the last decade, I take it pretty seriously when people say it's harder to get into a party, and the defaults aren't right, and I don't like the model."
Whitten didn't give specifics about what the impending firmware update would address about the "hidden" social features, but did note that a core theme of updates to the platform going forward would be "the Live experience" as a whole. He intends that in the long-term the Xbox One will see more regular firmware updates than the 360 did, too -- but the majority of these will likely be Windows-esque minor updates that improve performance or aspects of functionality. Major updates -- think the change between the "Blades" interface and the "New Xbox Experience" on 360 -- will still be big, less frequent events.
Initial priorities for the team include getting more apps available for the console and addressing the international territories where some of the TV features are not currently available. The promised Twitch streaming functionality may still be a while off, however, though Whitten suggested we would more than likely see it finally implemented into the console before E3 in June. Frankly, they'd be somewhat foolish to not have it up and running by the time Titanfall is available in March, so the clock is ticking -- particularly as PS4 owners are continuing to enjoy the ability to stream quickly and easily from their consoles.
If you're an Xbox One owner and you feel there are aspects of the experience that could be improved, be sure to check out the unofficial Xbox Feedback page -- it's proven to be an important and helpful resource, not to mention a good centralized place for Microsoft to find out what people want fixed sooner rather than later.