Microsoft appears to be in the early stages of bringing Xbox party chat features to Android smartphones.
Currently accessible on the Xbox Beta app and first spotted by Reddit users, the new feature makes it possible to use the Xbox mobile app to take part in party chats when you can’t be at your console.
Even more appealing, it enables you to use your smartphone to play with and talk to console-playing friends in cross-system games such as Minecraft. That means that if one friend is playing Minecraft on console, another on PC and another on mobile, all three would still be able to communicate in the one chat.
Given that there are several Microsoft games playable on mobile outside of Minecraft, it’s fair that mobile gamers should be able to connect and play on their mobile devices.
As a supplementary integrated feature it makes sense, giving Xbox One users a much broader range chat options to stay connected with their friends that don’t require them to be tied to their console.
We imagine it’s likely to be more positively received than the Nintendo Switch chat app which exists separate to the main hardware and remains a rather limited primary means for players to communicate.
While the feature is in beta, it's only accessible on Android phones and as yet there's no word about if or when it'll roll out to the main Xbox smartphone app which is iOS and Android compatible.