The Xbox Holiday Update Arrives Today — What's New?

By Kelly Packard,
Xbox wished a happy holiday season to their player base by pushing out a big update today, the first substantial patch since the summer update in August. If you're in the Preview Program — or, as it is now known, the Xbox Insider Program — you've already been testing out these features for the past couple months. Today, however, they will go live for the masses. In addition to more social features like clubs, looking for groups and group messaging, the achievement hunting community has been shown a little love with rare achievements and an update to the monthly gamerscore leaderboard.

To walk and talk through the update with Larry Hryb's Major Nelson and Scott Henson from the Xbox Engineering team, check out the video below. If you're trying to sneak a peek at the update while at work or somewhere a video isn't convenient, read onto the text below.



Clubs

The first new feature is Clubs, a way to join a group of like-minded gamers in the Xbox community. The club could just be you and three of your closest friends or up to thousands of gamers. Don't see a club that fits you? No problem, create your own at any time! Through the club, members can easily share clips and screenshots, communicate with each other and set up gaming sessions. You can view your clubs at any time on your Xbox One console, the Xbox mobile app or the Windows 10 app on your PC, as shown in the screenshots below.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to join us in the official TrueAchievements club. If you're not quite sure how to find us, get the lowdown from DaveKinetic in this article here.

TA Club Xbox One

























Looking For Group

The next new social feature is Looking For Group, or LFG. If you really want a co-op buddy for Gears of War 4 or Dead Rising 2 but none of your friends own them, here you can reach out to other gamers meeting those qualifications. It's highly customizable and includes options to "specify the game, the game mode, the language the party will be speaking, how many people you need, rules like no trash talking or casual friendly, and any other in-game requirements like level, gear or character type." You can post a Looking For Group request up to seven days in advance, which will give you time to line up a session on a night you know you're going to be wanting to play.

Achievement Rarity

The next feature, Achievement Rarity, is something most of you are already familiar with. While we have our own points and rarity systems here on TrueAchievements, Achievement Rarity lets you see how you stack up against the Xbox community as a whole. While we're not quite sure what qualifications a gamer has to meet to be tracked for a game, whether it just be own it, start it, or earn an achievement in it, it's neat to see another version of rarity nonetheless. See the little diamond next to an achievement when you open up the overlay? Bingo — that means you've got a rare one, or an achievement unlocked by 10% or less of players.

Xbox Holiday Update 4

And, as you may remember from last month, Mr. TrueAchievement himself and the rest of our behind-the-scenes team already took on the task of integrating Xbox Achievement Rarity into TrueAchievements, so you can see how you stack up against the TA community and the entire Xbox community all at once.

Rare Achievement indicator on game page


Group Messaging

You can now create conversations with multiple friends at once via Group Messaging, available on Xbox One, Windows 10 and the mobile apps on Android and iOS. To help you keep pace with speedy typers on your Xbox One, a new predictive dictionary has been added, which you can pull up when messaging by using the right thumbstick.

Xbox Holiday Update 5


Gamerscore Leaderboard

The gamerscore leaderboard, which was previously a tricky determinant of comparison since it measured 30-day periods instead of month-by-month, has now been revised to follow a monthly schedule, resetting on the 1st of every month, so you can see who is really kicking the most butt in November. As always, you can see the gamerscore leaderboard by going to the Achievements section of your profile.

Xbox Holiday Update 6


Emojis

Last but not least, emojis have been added to the Xbox One keyboard. Sometimes, the only way to respond to that angry dude or dudette who's mad that you bested them in a Last Man Standing situation in Gears of War 4, is to respond to their hate mail with an adorable emoji of a cat. That'll show 'em.

Xbox Holiday Update 7

Just like you can access the punctuation section of the keyboard by pressing cn_LT, you can do the same here by pressing cn_LT a few extra times to get to the emoji page. From here, you can click on the emoji you want to use, or hold-click on one to see more emoji in a similar vein.

The Xbox team also addressed one feature that will be remaining in preview — Arena, the tournament and eSports centered feature that is still undergoing testing. They gave a big shoutout to everyone who's been helping test the feature, but said that it's not ready to start rolling out to the public yet.

The Holiday Update has already started being pushed out to users today, so if your Xbox One hasn't started applying the update yet, you should be seeing it shortly.
Kelly Packard
Written by Kelly Packard
In a few descriptors: college student, longtime gamer, writer and junk food enthusiast. I contribute to TrueAchievements as a news writer and reviewer. Usually, you can find me knee-deep in a multiplayer game while ignoring my growing backlog or on one forum or another discussing all things gaming.