A new Xbox Party Chat feature promises to suppress background noise and allow conversations to be free of audio pollution.
Xbox Live was first made available to owners of the original Xbox console in November 2002 and, along with Sony’s PlayStation network that would follow four years later, revolutionized console gaming. While the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube technically featured internet accessibility, the Xbox brought online game modes that were previously only available on the PC. Unfortunately, for the next two decades, poor audio quality has been an issue with the Xbox Live Party Chat experience, but a new update available to Xbox Insider program members may finally alleviate these issues.
This new update will filter microphone audio through a “noise suppression step” when in a group chat, which should cancel out any screaming babies, barking dogs, or any other unwanted background audio that might be picked up by the a group member’s headset and get in the form of a gaming session. It won’t improve the sound of a sub-par microphone, however, although Microsoft made a new Xbox Stereo headset available last year that should serve as a proper upgrade.
While noise suppression might seem like a pretty superfluous addition to those who don’t spend a lot of time in Party Chat lobbies, in larger groups these chats can often turn into a cacophony of hissing, sizzling microphones, reverberating game audio. from someone’s television and all sorts of background murmurs polluting a player’s voice input. Years ago, simply talking to friends over the internet was a novelty to be celebrated, but today, particularly after Xbox made moves to allow players without Xbox Live Gold to access Party Chat lobbies, it has become clear that there are higher standards for which effort.
In 2020, Discord released an update that allowed users to suppress background audio that might be leaking through their microphones, and PC gamers have had access to a plethora of options to mitigate background noise for quite some time. However, while features like this were fantastic during the early days of online gaming, they are welcome in 2022.
While the noise suppression feature is just a part of Party Chat, for now, it could have practical applications in some of Xbox’s most populous multiplayer titles. The most important games, like Between us, robloxand sea of thieves could benefit, as all these Xbox games feature proximity chat. There’s no worse feeling than revealing a team’s location or leaking secret information due to a faulty microphone, and in the future, developers will be able to mitigate these issues on Xbox.
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