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Xbox One

Xbox One party chat sucks…here’s a solution

The Problem

Microsoft has been open about the fact that there are issues with the Xbox One’s software, well, open about some of the issues. Each week that passes seems to spawn a new problem, bug or issue that can be added to the now a quite considerable list of super annoying Xbox One bugs…party chat being the focus today.

Xbox One party chat headset

For the last week, I’ve been trying to play Battlefield 4 with my buddy Tim over at Gamertag Gaming because let’s face it, BF4 is so much better when playing with friends. I’m going to ignore the bizarre way that BF4 adds parties of players to games and the fact that it splits the party up onto opposing teams, resulting in you spending every redeploy seeing if you can swap teams for another day. It’s just another oddity of BF4 and let’s hope it gets fixed soon.

No, the real issue, and the one that will in fact stop you playing a game with friends, is trying to talk to them via  “Party Chat”. Microsoft’s all-singing, all-dancing new chat and party system is total crud. There’s no issue with how it looks or how it snaps, and starting and making a party works fine. It’s when the time comes to connect chat.

I don’t quite understand why Microsoft think that people may want to be in a party but not talk to each other and thus, have chat as a separate thing but that’s how it is. And it’s well and truly broken. All week we’ve been struggling to get chat to work and have been bombarded with the wonderful “Cannot turn on party chat at this time” error message. Last night it got beyond a joke. After an hour of power cycling routers, modems, Xboxes and kettles, a solution to this infuriating problem was found. Credit where credit’s due, it was my buddy Tim that suggested, “why don’t we use Skype?”. 

The Solution

Skype logo

It’s so blatantly obvious it’s almost painful but, it’s taken us a week to realise it and so we thought we’d share, in case you haven’t realised it quite yet either. Microsoft, as I mentioned, are aware of the problem and are working on it as Major Nelson told the Verge.

However, while we wait till the Spring for the big update that’s touted, we can work around the Party Chat nightmare with the Skype app. It’s totally free and only requires you to signup so that you have a username. It also works brilliantly. It’s a bit more of a ball ache to get a party going now as you have to call your friend or friends, and then start an actual Xbox Live party before gaming, but it’s a viable solution.

Well, for the next few months anyway. If Microsoft doesn’t get Party Chat working soon, this solution will evaporate as Skype will charge us to make Group Calls. So, fine in the long term for one-to-one calls but, to use it as a replacement for Party Chat with multiple people involved, you’ve only got 6 months of free Group Calls with you Xbox Live Gold subscription. After that, money’s required.

However, if Microsoft doesn’t get this and the plethora of other issues cropping up on the Xbox One sorted within 6 months, I think there’s going to be a bigger problem than not being able to use Party Chat reliably, more likely a mass exodus to another console. It’s just another case of developers and manufacturers releasing things before they’re actually properly finished and tested. I, for one, am getting sick and tired of the industry using us, the people who play and use their products, as beta testers and guinea pigs to find the faults. Why do we have to put up with 6 – 12 months of crap gaming while the devs sort out the bugs? Want us to find out? Leave a comment.