Here's what's in the next Xbox One system update

The first update of the new year is focused on a range of social features.

As suspected, Microsoft on Tuesday officially announced the first details on the next Xbox One system update. Microsoft engineer Mike Ybarra wrote on the Xbox Wire that this month's update, which is available starting today for Preview Program members, focuses on social features (not background music, sorry).

First, the Xbox One update will, as was teased, allow you to see who is in a party before joining it. You can see a video of what that looks like right here.

It also adds a new Gamerscore leaderboard menu to the Achievements section of your profile. This will showcase your Gamerscore ranked against friends, as well as information about who racked up the most Gamerscore over a rolling 30-day period.

The Xbox One update also lets you re-arrange pins on the Home screen. In addition, it's now possible to launch the pins when you're offline, Ybarra said.

Below you'll find a rundown of the other changes coming to Xbox One through the update, as written by Microsoft.

This update is rolling out now for members of the invite-only Preview Program. Microsoft did not provide a public release date, but previously provided a tentative release window of sometime in February. We are also expecting to hear about January 2016's lineup of backwards-compatible Xbox One games soon.

Before this update, the most recent one was November 2015's New Xbox One Experience, which Microsoft said was possibly the most significant update ever made to any console in history.

Xbox One January 2016 System Update New Features Include:

Descriptions written by Microsoft.

  • Updating Activity Feed in Xbox One: Your activity feed in Xbox One Preview will inform you when there are new items in your feed. Clicking the link will take you to the top of your feed where you'll see a rundown of the newest posts, so that you always have the freshest content at your fingertips.
  • Joinable Twitch Broadcasts: You want it to be easier to watch your friend's game broadcasts. In Preview, Game Hubs as well as the game tile will allow you to easily launch Twitch.tv broadcasts if friends are broadcasting.
  • Improvements to Suggested Friends: Looking for people who you might know on Xbox or top content creators to follow? Check out the new Friend Suggestions area in Community and the Friends list in the Guide on Xbox One. Friend Suggestions include the gamertag, real name (if shared), gamerpic or Xbox Avatar image, and the reason the suggestion was made to you. Click through from the suggestion to view the member's full profile and choose to grow your friends list.
  • Hide games from 'ready-to-install' list: Fans asked that we re-enable the ability to hide content like betas, trials, games, and apps that they no longer want to install. Xbox One Preview members will be able to start using this feature again.
  • Avatar Store: Equip your avatar with the latest avatar items in the newly-integrated 'Avatar Store.' On the console, the Store is built right into the Xbox Avatars app and on Windows 10 PCs and phones, access the Store through the Xbox Avatars app. Get access to the entire catalog of new and oldie-but-goodie items, including free items. As you're perusing catalogs, enjoy the ability to preview the items on your avatar real-time before you buy.
  • Xbox News: Xbox News is a one-stop source for all the latest information about new hardware, console updates, game releases, tournaments like the Halo World Championship, breaking entertainment content, and more. This month, both Xbox Beta app and Xbox One Preview audiences will see Xbox News posts in their activity feed to make it easier to stay up to date on all things Xbox.
  • Improvements to Trending: Across Xbox One Preview and Xbox Beta app experiences this month for console and Windows 10 PCs and phones, you'll notice a new access point for Trending items to the right of the Community tab on your console and in the left menu area of the Xbox app. This gets you to a dedicated Trending landing page with the most popular topics across Xbox Live surfaced at the top followed by an inspirational assortment of top videos, screenshots, achievements, and more that members across the community have created or unlocked. Consider friending or following publishers of content that you like.
  • Suggested friends: In both the Xbox One Preview and Xbox Beta app, we're making it easier to get details on your suggested friends. Starting this month, if you click 'see all' or double tap on the shortlist of friend suggestions in any scenario, you will be pointed to a full-screen view of all suggested friends.
  • Compact mode for Xbox App: With this update to the Xbox Beta app, we've moved additional functions to compact mode which will enable you to quickly switch between your friends' view, your party, messages and activity alerts. A quick click allows you to keep an eye on what your friends are up to, while multi-tasking on your Windows PC!

What do you make of these new features? Let us know in the comments below!

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