Xbox One March 2014 System Update

Xbox One March 2014 System Update

It's here

Get ready for that green progress bar when you boot up your Xbox One today: the March 2014 System Update is now rolling out. Here's what you can expect.

A lot of Titanfall. You'd think Titanfall was the Second Coming for all the attention Microsoft is giving this single third-party game. In its blog post describing the immediate availability of the March 2014 System Update, Microsoft says this update is all about getting ready for Titanfall. So get ready, dammit.

Faster access to Friends list. Your Friends list is now available on the Friends app home screen, which makes so much sense I'm curious why it was ever different. And while you can go hunt and peck for the Friends app if you want, it's easier to select the social tile (the one with your avatard on it) in the default Home section of the Dashboard.

Party Chat is now on by default. In another change that should have always been enabled, Party Chat is now enabled by default when you start a party. Duh. (It was that way in Xbox 360, of course.)

Cross-app Party Chat. You can now chat with friends who are in other apps, games or Xbox One experiences. This means you can now chat with all of your friends who are online or you can chat with everyone playing the same game, your choice.

Invite friends to game. A new option called "Invite friends to game" is now available from within any multiplayer-capable game. And, yep, this one was previously available on the 360 too. (It's amazing how much of this stuff they missed.)

Recent players. Again belatedly adding a feature Xbox 360 users enjoyed for years, you can now access a list of the Xbox Live members you've recently played with. This is useful for a number of reasons, but for me the big one is that you can now report a player. I never saw a way to do this in-game—when such an issue arises—before this update. It's still really slow and ponderous, however.

Twitch. You can now download and install the Twitch app. (It's not just there by default.) I wrote about this live video game play broadcasting app recently in Twitch Coming with March System Update for Xbox One. Just say "Xbox broadcast' to start sharing. Or, grow up. Your choice. Beware: There be advertisements here.

Dolby Digital enhancements. Two pieces here. First, the Xbox One optical out port now supports 5.1 Dolby Digital, "enabling devices such as sound bars and headsets with only optical-in to be able to receive 5.1 Dolby Digital from Xbox One over optical." Second, Microsoft has added support for Dolby Digital surround sound over HDMI too.

50Hz output to Xbox One. For your European users, the live TV app can now display at 50Hz for full or fill modes, fixing the frame rate issues some have been experiencing while watching live TV on Xbox One.

Bing Web Search. When you search you will now see results from the web, as well as from an expansive marketplace. Web results aren't really integrated with search results per se; you click a "Get web results" tile at the end of the normal store-based results to see the web results in IE. Additionally, you can now highlight text on a web page and press the controller's menu button to start a Bing search directly from the browser.

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