PlayStation owners may be stuck waiting in the dark for system updates, but Xbox One owners have come to expect consistent monthly updates, courtesy of Microsoft.
It's not always on the same date, and there are quite a few smaller updates that only add in minor tweaks - either way, Xbox One owners know that, once a month, their systems will work just a little bit better.
For the last few months, Microsoft has been adding in some oft-requested features, many of which revolve around how Achievements are displayed.
April's system update follows that tradition, though this month's update does come with a few other enhancements along with the updated Achievements: namely, more changes to the console's Party system and the What's On screen.
First and foremost, Achievements are changing yet again. Originally, when Xbox One Achievements popped, only the name and point value were shown. If you wanted to figure out exactly what unlocked the Achievement, you'd have to enter the system's Dashboard (a process that launched an entirely separate app), or you'd have to use the clunky 'Snap' system (a process that took far longer than it should have).
Now, when the Achievement is unlocked, its description is displayed after the title - no more switching into another app to figure out what you just unlocked. It's far faster and smoother than any previous version, and players should have a much easier time keeping track of what Achievements they're unlocking without having to pause.
The next major update focuses on the console's Party system. In previous versions, it was entirely possible to have conflicting preferences within a Party and have no idea what was happening - for instance, if you accidentally muted a party member, the console would never let you know or tell you how to fix it. It made figuring out exactly what was wrong and how to fix it a boring, trial-and-error process...thankfully, the new system will inform players of any conflicting preferences, and will offer shortcuts to correct any issues.
On top of that, the What's On section of the Dashboard is now ready for public release. It's basically a 'Trending' section for your Xbox One: videos, TV shows, movies and games will all populate the area depending on personal configuration, and What's On will even display live, trending TV if the OneGuide is set up beforehand.
Finally, Xbox One preview users will continue working with the console's updated voice messages - unfortunately, regular users will have to wait just a little bit longer before the feature is ready for everyone.
The April system update should be a big one for hardcore Xbox One gamers. Since the system's launch, Achievements have been clunky and annoying to use, but the latest update should (finally) make using the feature as smooth as it always should have been. The Party system is also getting a nice boost, and dealing with what is and isn't working should be a whole lot easier from here on out.
It's a shame that the voice messages couldn't have made it into the April update...here's hoping that they're ready for the update in May!
The April system update is live now, and should start downloading the next time you power your console on. For more information about the Xbox One update, head on over to Microsoft's Major Nelson blog.