As a part of this month’s Xbox One system update, players are getting an upgrade to the party system. Currently, players are only able to host parties of 12 people, but with the next update, that number will jump to 16. According to Xbox’s Head of Programming, Mike Ybarra, the team isn’t satisfied just yet.
According to Ybarra, we aren’t even close to how high he’d like party numbers to reach. “It was 8 six months ago, then we went to 12, now we’re at 16,” he says. “I’d love to get that to 64 because that’ll get Battlefield and games 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]”
When asked why he’d want the numbers to be that high, Ybarra points to an application of the Xbox app’s party chat capabilities that exists outside of Xbox gaming. “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,” he says. “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.”
The PlayStation 4’s party chat system currently supports 8 players, which is what the Xbox One’s party system supported at launch. Last September, Xbox One’s party size jumped to 12 players as a part of the New Xbox One Experience.
I think everyone’s first reaction to this news is somewhere along the lines of “That’s way too much,” but Ybarra is simply talking about offering it as an option. Players who like 12-person parties can still opt to keep their parties at that size, but the option would always there for expansion. We may never see parties of 64 players – I know I definitely don’t want to be in a party with 63 other people talking – but it’s great that Ybarra has such lofty goals for the platform.