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Xbox One gets new avatars in November, and 12-person party chat now

Avatars once ran wild and free across the Xbox user experience, but much of their habitat was clear cut to make way for Xbox One. You still might catch one out of the corner of your eye here and there - hopefully before it runs out in front of your car - but you'll be seeing a lot more of them soon.

The latest update for members of the New Xbox One Experience Preview program adds "new animated avatars" to the console experience, according to the Major Nelson blog (opens in new tab). You'll notice your modernized avatar fidgeting around on your profile, and they'll even propagate across other areas of the menu. A new avatar store, which will likely once again let you spend real money on virtual accessories for your polygonal persona, also seems to be on the way (opens in new tab).

These changes will arrive with a bunch of other Xbox One updates in November (opens in new tab), including Xbox 360 backwards compatibility (opens in new tab) and other new features. But another significant update has already gone live for all users: Xbox Live Party Chat now supports up to 12 people.

That's still not quite enough people for a whole Battlefield Conquest team, but it does get you a bit closer than the old eight-person cap. The change was made on the server side, rather than the client side, so you should be able to start chatting with more folks immediately on any supported platform, including the Windows 10 Xbox App.

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I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.