Xbox June Update adds speech-to-text for Party Chat accessibility, app improvements, and more

Xbox June 2021 Update Image
Xbox June 2021 Update Image (Image credit: Xbox)

What you need to know

  • Xbox typically updates its OS every month with new features, fixes, and improvements for the Xbox community.
  • The Xbox June Update is officially rolling out for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles, with a handful of neat additions.
  • The headlining feature is a major accessibility improvement: speech-to-text and text-to-speech for Xbox Party Chat.
  • The Xbox mobile app now supports official game posts, groups can be reordered in the Xbox Guide, and Xbox Family Settings gains another improvement.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are already great consoles as they are right now, but Xbox still releases near-monthly OS updates to improve them further. Even aging Xbox One consoles get some love, and benefit from most of the same new features that come to Xbox Series X|S. Last month's decent-sized Xbox May Update is being followed by today's more modest Xbox June Update, which still includes a very important accessibility addition. It may take a while for the Xbox June Update to become available to everyone, but you should see it appear on your console soon.

Xbox June 2021 Update Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox June 2021 Update Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Xbox June 2021 Update Image (Image credit: Xbox)

Source: Xbox

The highlights of the Xbox June Update includes:

  • Party Chat accessibility improvements. Xbox is already a leader in gaming accessibility, and Xbox consoles are becoming even better in this aspect with new features for Xbox Party Chat, making the feature more inclusive and accessible to those who are hard of hearing and either cannot or choose not to speak. You can find these features under Ease of Access > Game and chat transcription or Options > Configure Ease of Access settings if you're in a Party.
    • Speech-to-text allows players to transcribe everything they're saying (and everything the other party members are saying) into a live text feed that appears on screen. Think of this as auto-captions, but for your Party Chats
    • Text-to-speech, conversely, allows players to type text into the Party Chat and have it be transcribed into speech by AI and spoken through the Party Chat to other members
  • Reorder groups in Guide. Players have been able to quickly navigate to custom groups through the Xbox Guide for a while, but they don't offer the same level of customization that the Dashboard does. Now, a new "Move groups" button allows you to rearrange the order of groups in the Xbox Guide.
  • Official posts in Xbox app. The Xbox mobile app has improved significantly since its initial redesign, and this month is no different. Players will be able to see official posts from Xbox and games straight from the Xbox app, with the ability to like, comment, and share all baked in.
  • Xbox Family Settings improvements. The Xbox Family Settings app is becoming an even more complete solution for parental controls on Xbox. Children can now ask for permission to play with friends from other platforms or devices, and parents can approve those requests on a case-by-case basic, straight from the Xbox Family Settings app.

The headlining feature of the Xbox June Update is absolutely to the improvements to Xbox Party Chat, which will likely be wonderful features to many players, including myself. It's great to see Microsoft deliver on the promises they made on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. With speech-to-text and text-to-speech features now baked in, more players around the world will be able to experience some of the best Xbox games while playing with friends in a Party.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.