Xbox Live messaging, chat, and parties

Overview

Xbox Live messaging, chat, and parties offer variety of ways to communicate with your friends. You can:

  • Text and talk privately with friends.
  • Chat with everyone who attends your Xbox Live party.
  • Communicate during multiplayer games.
  • Video chat.

Note For help with video chat, see Using Video Kinect.

Messages, chat, and parties

Xbox Live games that support multiplayer gaming also support in-game voice communication.

What you need

Private chat, party chat, and in-game voice communication require the following:

Set up chat

Setting up communication is simple. Just connect your Xbox 360 headset or Kinect sensor, and then set your online safety settings. You can allow communication with everyone or just your friends.

  1. Connect your headset or Kinect sensor:

    • If you are using an Xbox 360 wired headset, connect it to your controller; or connect a wireless headset to your console.
    • If you are using a Kinect sensor:

      1. Sign into Xbox Live.
      2. On the controller, press the Guide button.
      3. Select Chat & IM.
      4. Make sure the Kinect Microphone is set to On.

    Tip Calibrating the Kinect sensor for speech and audio may improve your chat experience. To do so, run the Kinect Audio Tuner.

  2. Specify your online safety settings:

    1. Go to Settings and select Privacy
    2. Select Customize.
    3. Select Voice and Text, then select either Everyone or Friends Only.
    4. Select Save and Exit.

Note If you are using a child account on Xbox Live, the parent account must approve this change.

Text messaging

Send messages from a console
  1. Sign in to Xbox Live.
  2. On your controller, press the Guide button.
  3. Select Messages.
  4. Select Create New.
  5. Select Message.
  6. Select a gamertag or select Enter Gamertag.
  7. Select Add Text or Record Voice.
  8. Do one of the following:

    • If you selected Add Text: Enter your message. You can use the keyboard on the screen or a USB keyboard that is attached to the USB port on the front of your console.
    • If you selected Record Voice: Record a voice message using your headset or Kinect sensor.
    • Note After you record your voice message, you can review the message before sending it by pressing Play.

  9. Select Send Message.
Send text messages from a computer
  1. Go to the Xbox Live Message Center, and sign in with your Windows Live ID if needed.
  2. Click Send a message.
  3. Select the friends to whom you want to send a message, or enter their gamertags.
  4. Type your message, and then click Send.

Note Messages are retained for a maximum of 30 days, after which they are automatically deleted.

Private chat

Private chat is a conversation between you and only one other person. No one else can hear or participate in this chat. Your friend can be playing the same game that you are, playing a different game, watching a movie, or listening to music.

You can have up to four private chats going on at the same time:

  • During an Xbox Live multiplayer game in addition to your public in-game communication.
  • While hosting an Xbox Live party.

Start a private chat

  1. Connect your Xbox 360 headset or Kinect sensor, and sign in to Xbox Live.
  2. On the controller, press the Guide button.
  3. Select Chat & IM.
  4. Select an available Private Chat channel, then select or enter the gamertag of the person that you want to chat with.
picture
  1. Select Send Invite. The person you invite has five minutes to accept your invitation. After five minutes, Xbox Live assumes that your friend is unavailable and cancels the invitation. You can try to send another invitation later.

Note When someone declines a chat invitation, the sender doesn’t know whether the invitation expired or was declined. The sender is only notified that the invitation was cancelled.

Parties

An Xbox Live party lets you invite up to seven people to communicate online while you all do other activities, like watching movies, playing games, or just chatting.

Notes

  • Anyone who wants to participate in an Xbox Live party must have an Xbox Live Gold Membership and either an Xbox 360 headset or a Kinect sensor. Friends who don’t have an Xbox 360 headset or a Kinect sensor cannot chat but can still listen to the party over their speakers.
  • You can be in only one party at a time.
  • A party can contain up to eight people. Once the maximum attendance is reached, someone must leave the party before another person can join.
Start a party and invite friends
  1. On your controller, press the Guide button.
  2. Select Party, and then select Start a Party.
  3. Select Invite Players to Party.
  4. Select or enter the gamertags of the friends that you want to invite to the party. You can invite up to seven people.
  5. Select Send Invite.
Invite a party to a game

You can use parties to invite an entire group of people to play a game, instead of inviting them one by one.

  1. Start a party using the steps above.
  2. Select a multiplayer game.
  3. In the game lobby—the area where players wait for a game to start—press the Guide button.
  4. Select Party, and then select Invite Party to Game. Follow the on-screen directions. You can invite up to seven people.

Note Once players join the game, the conversation switches to the Game Chat channel automatically. To switch back, see Change the chat channel below.

Change the chat channel

You can change the chat channels to choose whom you want to talk to.

To… Do this…
Talk to only players in your game Press the Guide button, then select Party, Party Options, Chat Channel, and Game Chat.
Talk to only members of the party Press the Guide button, then select Party, Party Options, Chat Channel, and Party Chat.
Mute an individual Press the Guide button, then select Party, the player's gamertag, and Mute.

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