Xbox Live fall update targets voice chat

360's online platform GM Jerry Johnson tells Euro crowd that system's audio codec will be improved later this year.

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Microsoft traditionally rolls out its biggest improvements to Xbox Live as part of the service's fall update, such as Netflix support, avatars, Games on Demand, and more. However, with Kinect's November 4 launch taking much of the limelight for Microsoft's holiday push, the publisher has been relatively mum on what gamers can expect out of the Xbox 360's online platform later this year.

For better or worse, Xbox Live gamers' voices will come through loud and clear.
For better or worse, Xbox Live gamers' voices will come through loud and clear.

This week, Microsoft parted that curtain ever so slightly. As reported by UK news site Eurogamer, Xbox Live Studios general manager Jerry Johnson said as part of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival that the publisher plans to update Xbox Live's audio codec to provide better voice communication through the service as part of this fall's update.

"The codec we used when we first launched was a low bit rate codec and we stuck with that," Johnson said. "We launched and we said we required broadband. We required a 64k connection, which not many people think of as broadband any longer. But that was the minimum requirement to run the service at the time."

"It's time for us to move on," he continued. "Especially if we want to think about broadening--a crackly headset on the top of your head [is] not what people think of when they talk about popular entertainment."

Microsoft had not responded to requests for additional details on the update as of press time. The publisher has also not yet announced when it plans to introduce the update later this year.

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