How to Enable Xbox’s New Party Chat Features

How to Enable Xbox’s New Party Chat Features
Photo: Chikena, Shutterstock

The June Xbox system update for Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles isn’t as big as previous months, but the latest firmware adds two important accessibility features for players with hearing and speech disabilities, along with new parental controls and a new way to organise your games and apps page. We’ll go over all the new features, how to use them, and how to install the update.

Speech-to-text and Text-to-speech for multiplayer party chat

The first of the new accessibility options, Speech-to-text, transcribes voices from other players in party chat into on-screen text. Captions appear in a small overlay that can be moved around the screen and adjusted so it doesn’t obstruct gameplay and stays easily readable.

The other new feature, Text-to-speech, turns typed text into synthesized speech. That way, players can have a “voice” in voice chat even if they don’t have a mic or are unable to speak. The feature supports several languages and offers multiple voice options per language.

Xbox Insiders have had access to these features since May, but now all users can turn them on in the Ease of Access settings:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide, then go to Profile & system > Settings > Ease of Access > Game and chat transcription.

  2. Players can also enable text-to-speech and speech-to-text from the party chat options under Options > Configure Ease of Access settings.

  3. Select the transcription options you want to use. There are further settings on the page for configuring your text or speech transcriptions to suit your needs.

Use new parental controls and rearrange Games & Apps

The party chat accessibility options are the standout additions in this month’s update, but there are a couple more changes worth pointing out.

  • Parental network requests: Parents can now change a child’s account settings to require permission before playing online or accessing other network features. The setting is in the Xbox guide menu under Profile & system > Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety > Xbox privacy. You can also turn it on in the Xbox Family Settings mobile app. When enabled, parents will get a notification to allow network access whenever an account you manage tries to play online. Permissions can be granted on the console, or in the Xbox Family Settings app.
  • Rearrange Games & Apps groups: You can now rearrange group folders in the Games & Apps page. Select the Move groups option from the Games & Apps page.

All of these features are available once you install the June 2021 Xbox system update. Most users will get the update automatically, but you can manually check for it in the Xbox guide menu under Profile & system > Settings > System > Updates.

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