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New Xbox One Preview Update heralds the return of Avatars and more in 2016

Microsoft pushed a new set of expanded features and visual changes for the Xbox One operating system to beta testers and consoles connected to Xbox One Preview, the company announced Tuesday.

The first system update of 2016 will primarily introduce features meant to facilitate and encourage social engagement between Xbox users and their friends, according to a post on Xbox Wire. The new features include the ability to see who else is in a friend’s party before joining, a revamped Xbox leaderboard that compares friends’ total and 30-day Gamerscore, and expanded Twitch integration that adds a shortcut to a game’s launch tile if a friend is broadcasting it live.

On the cosmetic front, the update will see the return of the Xbox Avatar on Xbox One. Players can access and modify their avatars, a character connected to player profiles that was displayed prominently in early versions of the Xbox One dashboard, through the Xbox Avatars app. Similar to the app available on Windows 10 and mobile, players will be able to view and purchase outfits and items with for their Avatar, and will be able to preview changes to their avatar in real-time, and “try on” new Avatar items before they buy them.

Related: The best Xbox One compatible Xbox 360 games

The “suggested friends” list will see a substantial overhaul. Players will be able to check out more information about suggested friends, including their gamerpic, their real name (if the user has shared it), and a description of why they have been suggested. Players will also have access to a larger list of “suggested friends,” should they desire.

There will now be a trending topics tab that curates screenshots, live-streams, achievements and other informations from “the most popular topics across Xbox Live.” In the same vein, Microsoft will now integrate posts from Xbox News into players’ activity feeds.

Lastly, Microsoft will also test a handful of useful, though not especially glamourous feature updates, such as the ability to view tiles offline and hide games you really hate from the “ready-to-install” list

The features will be available for Xbox One Preview consoles Tuesday, and will push to Windows 10 PC and Xbox Mobile Beta users next week.