Second Xbox One April update preview rolls out with voice messages, party chat servers, more

Today's update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, and expands the What's One section to users in Canada and the UK. Here's the full breakdown of what's new in this wave of the April update preview for the Xbox One:

  • Voice messages – 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're enhancing party chat with dedicated chat relay servers that 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. This service is only enabled for parties where one or more members are previewing the April system update.
  • What's On – The Xbox engineering team is continuing to experiment with the What's On area, which highlights popular videos, movies, TV shows and game broadcasts. We're continuing to test different experiences 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.

Of course, all of this is in addition to the party chat improvements, game hub links, and changes to achievement notifications that came with last week's update preview wave. If you're in the Xbox One preview program, the preview should be available for download on your Xbox One now. And while you're waiting on the download, check out the video above to see Xbox's Major Nelson go through each of the new features.

Source: Major Nelson

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • I was just wondering about voice messages.
  • This should be awesome! :-)
  • Sweet! Finally voice messages.
  • And in other news, the PS4 got its 2.5th update today. Good job Sony! *sarcasm* Anyways, I love the quick progress Microsoft is making!
  • Yet the ign video on YouTube is full of "ps4 is owning Xbox with these updates" comments. One guy asked if his ps4 could open more than one app at a time. I didn't see a response. :P
  • Wow really? That's some grade "A" trolling then.
  • Honestly that has got to be some serious sarcasm going on. Every PS4 owner I know fully admits that's one area where Sony just can't compete (unless you count stability updates).
  • Guess those YouTube.commenters didn't get the memo.
  • Love my PS4, Xbox one AND Wii U. None of them has a total advantage over the others. That said, I do wonder why it took a year and a half for Xbox one to get features Xbox 360 had for half a decade or more.
  • I'm guessing the removal of the always-on requirements is still behind a lot of problems.
  • I own both too and running apps side by side and and TV integration give the Xbox a clear advantage over the PS4. I actually use voice control on the Kinect and sometimes Skype and it's amazing. To me there is no clear advantage in gaming as they both handle that well, but the media features def set them apart.
  • I almost never do side by side apps, but it is cool. I hate the Kinect, though. It's voice recognition is maybe 50% effective on a good day. It's a great Skype camera though, and when my fiancee was out of the country we used it daily to keep in touch! Long story short on the consoles: They're all worth owning for their exclusive games :)
  • Also remember to reset your Kinect takes less than 5min but plays a part of its own stability
  • The Xbox One was meant to cam out in 2015
  • Oh, give me a break. It was never slated for 2015, that's bullshit.
  • Also, to be honest, I kinda hate my Wii U.
    1. Why can't I save games to my sd card? 2. Why does the external HDD never work? 3. Why does the controller battery suck so much? 4. Why is it so difficult to get social integration working? 5. Why haven't I sold this stupid thing yet?
  • Sounds like user error to me. I have zero problems with any of those functions.
  • nope. Though maybe they pushed out updates in the last year (guess how often I touch this thing), documentation confirms that only original wii games can be saved to the sd card, that only a few HDD work, and the social integration is more annoying than it's worth. And a 4 hour battery life is pathetic!  
  • Any external USB hard drive will work. The documentation shows they've only *tested* certain ones. So long as you provide adequate voltage to run the drive (often meaning you'll have to use a Y cable and take 2 USB ports, or use an external power supply), you can use virtually any drive out there. I use a 250GB drive I took out of my PS3 :). The Miiverse is actually fantastic, and it doesn't take any particularly heavy amount of effort to use. And while I agree 4 hours isn't a huge amount of time, the fact is that the Wii U's controller is doing a lot more than a 360/Xbone/PS4/PS3 controller does. Meanwhile, the Pro Controller (AKA, the "boring" controller) for Wii U averages around 70 hours of battery life. You may struggle to figure out how to use the system, but that doesn't make it a bad system. I play my Wii U, PS3 and Xbox 360 FAR more than my Xbox One or PS4, simply because the former three have far, FAR better games than the latter two.
  • I'll concede the point that any HDD will work with a Y cable and or an external power supply (which is still FUCKING STUPID), but why, WHY can't I use my sd card to save a downloaded game? I got a code for a game and couldn't save to my 64GB card because WHY? As for the controller? BULL! My phone does a hell of a lot more than that controller, and it lasts way longer. If you're going to have it require a battery, make the battery last a reasonable time. I shouldn't have to shell out another forty dollars for a controller to have decent battery life. Miiverse SUCKED when I got the Wii U last spring. Took a screenshot, couldn't upload to twitter, facebook, whatever. Saw a cool screenshot, couldn't save it. Maybe there was some way to do it that wasn't clear, but then whose fault is that? This thing is supposed to be for children to use; why, then, is the UI so convoluted?   Games are better? Really? Unless you're counting legacy games, bullshit again. There are a FEW great games, but so few of great length that I stopped playing it. Mario Kart 8 was good, but I quickly found myself going back to SASRT, which is multi-plat. Wind Waker was probably its best game. Mario 3D world was just not what I wanted from a main console Mario. I wanted Mario 64, or Sunshine, or Galaxy, but I got a sequel to 3D Land, which I didn't like that much in the first place. Smash? Ok, if I have a bunch of friends over, but otherwise meh. Also, I already had gotten it on 3DS, so was not super interested in it after weeks of playing that version. ZombiU? Okish, but just not enough to stay interested in going back to get my supplies over and over. Since I just feel like nitpicking now: Can't play DVD movies. My PS2 I got in 2001 played DVD movies! Forget bluray, it won't play DVD movies. And, really, 8gb and 32gb options only? Basically forcing me to buy an external HDD if I want to download most of my games? Sure! Great! That's convenient for me! Add that to the controller you're saying I should be ok with buying, and now to get my console usable for me I've spent at least another $100, and that's finding deals on Amazon. I spent $250 on the core console alone, so really, an Xbox One is the same price now.   I could go on, but I won't. The Wii U sucks. It may have some decent games, but Nintendo completely dropped the ball on the hardware capabilities, like they have since the N64.      
  • There's nothing "stupid" about the fact that it needs a Y cable or external power to drive an external hard drive. It uses USB 2.0, and those are the limitations of USB 2.0. It's no different on Xbox 360 or PS3, both of which also use USB 2.0. As for why you can't use the Sd card, who knows? If you are smart enough to get an external hard drive working (looking questionable, I admit), it doesn't matter. Sorry, but no, your phone isn't driving a 6" display with a relatively small battery. Should they have put in a bigger battery? Eh, maybe. But most people rarely play longer than 4 hours anyway, and even if you did, you just plug it in and keep playing while it charges. Not exactly rocket science. Miiverse hasn't sucked since the system launched, not at all. It's a social network focused on Nintendo games. It's not meant to dive into facebook and twitter, nor is that a standard to which it must comply. Look at Xbox 360. At one time it had official facebook and twitter apps, but now it doesn't. Why? Because nobody used them anyway. Everything else you own no doubt can handle FB and Twitter just fine. It's ridiculous to think a gaming system needs to do it too. Convoluted UI? What system are you even talking about? The Wii U UI is ridiculously simple. TOO simple, IMHO. If you're having trouble figuring it out, that's ALL you, buddy :). As for the games library, yes, it's better on Wii U than on Xbox One or PS4 (obviously it still pales compared to PS3 or Xbox 360, but that's to be expected, given those systems have many years head start). DVD movies, really? Of all the things you want to nitpick, playing DVD's is it? Wow. I don't even know how to respond to such a dumb criticism. Just about everything under your TV plays DVD's and/or Blu Rays. One more really isn't gonna make a difference. What's more important is that it supports the new standards: Streaming movies. And it does. Well. I agree the 8GB option was...odd, at best, but 32GB is a perfectly fine starting point. It's a shame they don't offer models with more internal space, but then, you've had the ability to use unlimited USB storage since day one. That means, right off the bat, that they're not charging you for something you may or may not use, and are instead leaving the choice to you. That's not a bad thing. But you know what the bottom line is? YOU suck, not the Wii U. It isn't perfect, that's for sure, but neither is anything else out there. You, however, are a whiner who doesn't understand that the most important thing about a games console is this: the GAMES. Crybaby.
  • I too have the Wii U. The gamepad has 5 hours of theoretical max usage I think, but whether it is 3 or 4 hours of actual usage I could not say. Have not bothered to measure that. However, it almost always requires to be charged everytime I am about to play a game, unlike the standard Wii controllers. I know it is 5 inches and runs with some proprietary wireless streaming tech to communicate within close proximity to the Wii U unit. However, somehow I think Apple was more successful with battery tech than Nintendo, considering how Apple lets you stream things over Airplay from iPad to Apple TV. The big difference is of course the always-on screen (gamepad) vs the handover-the-screen-to-my-TV feature (iPad). Still, the gamepad is big enough to house a strong battery with higher capacity than ca 4-5 hours of usage. Standby hours are also terrible. This is all from my hands-on experience. So yeah, the second-screen functionality works great but it is not very battery efficient. Many times I find myself playing games with the power charging cable stuck to it while playing. Not so much of a "wireless" controller :) I have already decided that XBOX One is the next-gen console of choice for me, but I am holding out on buying it. Not enough interesting games available yet. I do not do first-person shooters anymore, so suddenly you have like maybe three or four fantastic games to play if I were to buy the console now.
  • It shipped with a charging dock. Put it in the dock when you're not playing and you'll never have to worry about charging before you play. Simple :)
  • The battery can be updated but it really seems to have bad standby life
  • So? It comes with a charge cradle. Done playing? Put it in the cradle. Easy.
  • You just keep making excuses that boil down to "the user encounters a problem, but can do extra work to fix it". The problem is that all the other consoles DON'T HAVE THOSE PROBLEMS TO BEGIN. I don't need a Y cable to use an external drive on xbox or playstation. I don't need the extra storage that much because both came with 500gb storage. I don't need to constantly remember to charge my controller, because the controller has adequate battery life. None of these are gamebreaking problems, but when the user keeps bumping into annoyance after annoyance, while the competition clearly has none of these problems, why stay?  
  • Actually, yes, the PS3 and 360, both of which use the same USB 2.0 as the Wii U, DO need a Y cable or external power adapter. Except, of course, that neither of those systems can actually use USB hard drives to store and play games from. PS4 and Xbox One can power external drives only because they support USB 3.0, but at that, the PS4 can't store or play games from external storage at all. And really, you're calling 500GB on PS4 and Xbox One a reason to say you don't need extra? That's bullshit and you know it. Xbox One and PS4 games are so big, you can max out the hard drive with about 10-15 games installed. I know--my Xbox one's 500GB internal storage was maxed out less than 4 months after I got it, and now I have a USB external drive for it. Same with my PS4, except in that case I installed a 2TB hard drive inside--which I can't do on my Xbox One. It's ridiculous to claim that the competition doesn't have these problems, when they clearly do. Batteries run down, regardless of system. Storage runs out, regardless of system. But here's the reason why you keep your hands on the games consoles you get: because NO system out there has the full range of great games that are available. Not *one*. That's why it's worth it to own them all, and to enjoy the exclusives they have. In the end, gaming isn't about specs or battery life or storage capacity, it's about the GAMES.
  • 10-15 games is a stretch, since many AAA titles require 40-50GB to install (some are in the 30GB range and some remasters Maybe be 22-25, but that's a bit of a stretch for the great commercial titles).  That's not counting DLC, Apps you download and install (Netflix on PS4 using up over 1GB space, for example. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, consider this... You lose space to formatting, so a 500GB Hard Drive isn't really 500GB - that's discounting the fact that 1GB to a HD Manufacturer is 1000 MB, while it's 1024MB to the device the HD is installed in - that means you get 500,000MB of storage instead of 512,000MB - before formatting.  On top of that, you will probably lose about 7-8% drive storage to formatting nad the above fact, combined.  This is why 1TB Hard Drives in PCs often format to about 930GB (a loss of ~7% storage capacity due to formatting and the HDD manufacturers counting GB differently). So, your 500GB HD effectively becomes a 465GB HDD, and the XBox One and PS4 each reserve about 70-100GB for System Software and Future Updates.  This is why the XBox one, out of the box, only has about 365GB Storage available for your use (73% of advertised storage), and and the PS4 is a little below 400GB. Factor that all in, and you won't even fit 10 Games on those Hard Drives as they ship, because the games are huge, the DLC takes up quite a bit of space, and the out of the box usable space on those 500GB hard drives is quite small - ESPECIALLY on the Xbox One.  The fact and the matter is, the Xbox One's 500GB hard drive is hardly an upgrade over Xbox 360's 250/320GB hard drive, and a huge practical downgrade because game sizes increased by 8-10x from last generation to this generation (we went from 3-5GB Games at the upper end to 30-50GB games...).  The hard drive size in the XBox One and PS4 did not even come close to increasing proportionately to the size of the games shipping on those platforms.  On a 250GB Xbox 360 you could install dozens - with an emphasis on the 's' - of games to the hard drive.  You won't even install 12 Games on these console's hard drives, and deleting games you may want to play later (or someone else in the household may want to play) is not an option due to the sheer size of the downloads (even for the patches/updates, which in some cases is as big as 3-4 AAA Xbox 360 Full Game Downloads!). Then you have to factor in how crappy the WiFi on these consoles are.  Really they put the worse WiFi adapters they could afford in these consoles.  I was lucky if I could get over 8Mbps on my 100Mbps connection on the XBox One with nothing else using the internet, and it would cap out around 50Mbps via Ethernet (PC Notebook gets 99Mbps via Etherne with nothing else using the connection.  The PS4 seemed capped to ~20-25Mbps no matter if I was on WiFi or Ethernet.  I returned both consoles due to this (and the XBox One FW being completely broken i.e. Instant On; and the Controller is the noisiest thing I have ever used on a gaming console) and got my money back. Microsoft offloads many of the apps you will download right out of the Box to the Store (Blu Ray Player, MP3 Player, "Play To" app, and many others) - things that should come pre-installed and integrated into the base OS by default.  Sony has limited the PS4 mostly the gaming, with more things coming in the future - probably after they start shipping 1TB consoles they will add in the other stuff and allow you to store your own media, etc. on the Playstation 4.  Right now it will just exacerbate low default storage. Buying an external hard drive on the Xbox One, or a 1TB Sata Drive on the PS4 is an option, but it effectively raises the cost of both consoles by ~$100+ dollars.  They need to ship bigger hard drives on them.
  • I also thnk at this point in time, and XB360 or PS3 is a better option than teh One or PS4 since they broke backward compatibility moving forwards and the new generation consoles don't have many decent exclusives, and a lot of other games are multi-plat and run on previous gen consoles. If you're just getting into console gaming and want a decent console, it's even more of a no brainer to go with the earlier gen consoles since they have a metric ton of games to play through, and the games are super cheap for them at this point. $59 for console game releases...  Really, just isn't worth it when the PC versions are usually dirt cheap on Steam or from Amazon and other places.
  • Most of those were features the Xbox 360 didn't have at launch either. You're comparing the day one launch state of a system, and one which required a lot of last minute engineering resources to deal with the drm changes too, to one that had been out for several years. Compare Xbox One day one to Xbox 360 day one and it comes out *very* favorably.
  • That is a ridiculous excuse. The Xbox 360, yes, got a lot of those features later, and that's fine. But what isn't fine is that the Xbox One launched, almost a decade after 360, without most of the features the 360 had accrued over the years. Day One, Xbox One should have been able to do everything 360 could.
  • By that logic, why can't the Wii U play gamecube games? Or save downloaded games for itself to the sd card?
  • Who cares. Xbox One does everything now.
  • Both the ps4 and X1 shipped with features missing from the previous gen. In fact, so did the WiiU. The reason the X1 did is pretty clear. They moved to a completely different hardware and software platform. They didn't have the luxury of porting features, it all had to be recreated from scratch for the X1 and they simply ran out of time. Remember, the X1 runs Win8 and we all know how tight the timeline was to get that ready. It certainly sucks having to wait, but that is probably why.
  • "I do wonder why it took a year and a half for Xbox one to get features Xbox 360 had for half a decade or more." Because it takes time to code things.
  • Right, and since they launched two years early, as one dunce claimed, and they obviously had no experience with x86/64 architecture-oh, wait. Sorry, there's no excuse. They had literally years to get Xbox one at least equal to 360 by launch day.
  • Downloading!
  • Oh how I wish that white Xbox came bundled with Kinect.
  • Phone team, is the only team isn't working..
  • How I wish that windows 10 for phones had the same update schedule....
  • Agreed. The preview from January is pathetic. Quite honestly, I'm wholly unimpressed by the entire Windows 10 endeavor. Feels like a giant step backwards to me, with the exception of positive items like universal apps and AR support baked in. The new UI is just plain *awful* though.
  • So your unimpressed with the beta testing? You do know the point is to test and report on issues with an unfinished OS, right? You guys seem to always react as if this is a final product you paid for. Its going to be rough until launch, that is how it goes.
  • Sorry, I forgot to use the sarcasm font. Otherwise, I can wait until its finished. I had a 635, tested 10 for a bit, provided feedback, then it fell out of my coat pocket and was destroyed. But, with a million bits of info from users, a update after nearly two months would suffice. Would it not?
  • What's on? How is this different then trending?
  • How do we get into the preview program?
  • You get invited by players who are already in the preview program
  • Are u in it? If so, could you please invite me. Xbox one. Gt: Solidsnake jv
  • You got a typo in the beginning "what's one" should be what's on
  • "What's One" little typo. Or is it......... :)
  • Excellent stuff. Sixteen months after launch my Xbox One nearly has the same functionality that the 360 had at launch. That's progress for you!
  • Xbox one still feels like a giant beta!
  • I really dislike the What's On section. It's mostly just links to YouTube clips I don't care about and Twitch streams of games I don't want to see. Why waste valuable real estate on the dashboard with that crap, especially since it sits in between the Home tab and the Store (you know, the place where you should actually want me to go, to spend money). That said, I'm not a huge fan of the Friends tab either. I liked the Xbox One dasbhoard UI much better at launch. It was much less cluttered. Parsimony is king.
  • Excellent update
  • Can someone please invite me to the program. I keep having NAT issues. Xbox one. GT: Solidsnake jv