The Xbox One Holiday Update has arrived for everyone - here's what's new

Microsoft today announced the general availability of the Holiday Update for the Xbox One and One S. As with all updates to the console since Windows 10 was introduced to it, it's known by many names, including Version 1610 and the Anniversary Update (AU).

You might recall that when the company first detailed the AU for the Xbox One, it had promised that it would roll out in two separate updates, the first being the Summer Update (also referred to as the 'August Update'), which was released back in July. Previews for the second wave began arriving to testers in September.

The main features of today's update include Clubs, Looking for Group, and Arena, which were all announced back at E3 2016 in June. Here's what's new:

  • Clubs on Xbox Live. Clubs are gamer-created and managed groups that can help you meet people and grow communities of gamers who love the same things you do. Anyone can join or create a Club, and you’ll probably see a Club for just about everything. If you do not, creating a Club is quick and easy.

    As a Club member, you’ll be able to set up parties, play games, share content, and easily communicate using voice and text chat with the Club across Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices, which is great if you want to stay in touch with your Clubs on the go, or find and join new Clubs from your phone. You can search for Clubs (or create your own) in the Community tab on Xbox One and the Clubs section on other devices, and Clubs associated with a game will be accessible in the title’s Game Hub. As a Club admin, you’ll have the tools to ensure that everyone is having a great time and help create a lively and inclusive environment. In case you missed it, check out our tutorial video on Clubs here.

    Looking for Group on Xbox Live. Looking for Group (LFG) helps you quickly find other players that you want to game with. It’s like posting a gaming “want-ad” to the Xbox community. You can use LFG to help complete daily quests, Achievement hunt, or even get a group together to annihilate hordes of the Swarm and DeeBees in Gears of War 4. You’ll be able to add certain requirements to make sure that you’re finding the right gamers. You can 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.

    Here’s how LFG works: gamers can browse open LFGs and request to join the ones that they’re interested in. The LFG host chooses from the list of gamers who have expressed interest and, once the group is full or the host is ready, the host can quickly get those people into Party Chat and start playing. You can even create an LFG post for future gaming sessions up to seven days in advance! For example, if you’re on your way home and want to make the most of your gaming for the night, you can set up everything in advance from your phone, so when you’re home and ready to go, you can just jump right in.

    Quick and easy. Whether you’re playing on Xbox One or Windows 10 PC, you can quickly find other gamers to play with on Xbox Live. Check out our LFG tutorial video on LFG here.

  • Achievement Rarity. Achievement Rarity, a top fan request on Xbox Feedback, helps you discover just how unique an Achievement is among players of a given game. When you earn a rare Achievement, you’ll get a special notification and diamond icon highlighting it. Unlock one today and let us know how you like the new animation!

  • Group Messaging on Xbox Live: Group Messaging helps you coordinate and keep in touch with your friends and fellow gamers by sending a single group message to everyone in a single conversation. You can also add people to the group and dynamically change the conversation topic. Group Messaging works across Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10, iOS, and Android devices. To help you write your messages even faster on Xbox One, we have added a new predictive dictionary which you can quick access with the right thumb stick on your controller.

  • Gamerscore Leaderboard. We’ve improved the Gamerscore Leaderboard on Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10 devices. The Leaderboard now resets at the beginning of each month instead of displaying results for a 30-day rolling period, meaning you and your friends will have a clean slate to compete against one another at the start of each month! You can keep an eye on the Gamerscore Leaderboard through the Achievements tab in your profile.

  • Emojis for your Xbox One virtual keyboard. Emojis will be joining your virtual keyboard on Xbox One! In addition to the existing alphabet and symbols that you can use, you’ll now be able to express your likes, dislikes and more with a host of different emojis on Xbox Live. Once on your virtual keyboard, you can get to emojis by pulling the left trigger until they show up. From there, select any emoji, or press and hold on one to see more related emoji.

As you can see, there are quite a few new features. Of course, if you're on the Xbox One Preview Program, you have all of this already. In fact, the Preview Program was recently rebranded as the Xbox Insider Program, and anyone can sign up for it now; however, new members will be ineligible for system updates.

The next thing in the Xbox's future will be the Creators Update. There's not a lot that's known right now about what will be included in the Xbox One variant of it, but given that it's slated to be released in four or five months, we shouldn't have to wait too long to find out.

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