Xbox Tech Director Wants 64-Player Parties
"Now, I don't want to be in a party of 64, but that's a different problem! [Laughs]."
Xbox Live could someday support 64-player party chat. Xbox head of programming Mike Ybarra recently told Game Informer that the Xbox One's March update, which increases party chat to 16 players, may only just scratch the surface for what the company hopes to achieve across console and PC.
"It was eight six months ago, then we went to 12, now we're at 16," he said. "I'd love to get that to 64 because that'll get Battlefield and games [Ed. Note: a new Battlefield game is on the way] like that which do 64 vs. 64…have at it! Now, I don't want to be in a party of 64, but that's a different problem! [Laughs]"
Pressed to explain why he would want 64-player party chat given his suggestion that it might not be a great user experience, Ybarra said it's all about giving players options--even for games outside its ecosystem.
"I like raising that--especially on the PC where a lot of our gamers use the Xbox app with non-Xbox Live games because you get free party chat," Ybarra explained. "So if you're in World of Warcraft and you have a 20-person raid, we're seeing a lot of people loading the Xbox app, getting into big parties as their client for how they talk and they go in.
"I want to raise that number to make sure I'm satisfying the Windows side and their needs as well. I think it's great that they use the Xbox app with all their games for free services, free parties, free chat, things like that."
March's Xbox One update is now available for Preview Program members and will arrive for everyone else later. In addition to increasing the party chat limit to 16 players, it also introduces a store where you can buy backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games. The full patch notes have not yet been released.
By comparison, the PlayStation 4's party chat feature is capped at eight users.
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