Microsoft this week highlighted some of the changes it is making to the way that Xbox Live subscribers will interact with their friends while using the Xbox One. A new Friends app now allows up to 1,000 friends, and provides a Twitter-like "follow" feature, among other changes, many of which pump up the platform's social capabilities.
Here's what's happening with the Xbox One Friends app.
Xbox 360 friends come with you to Xbox One. Microsoft likes to keep touting this benefit, though I find it fairly obvious that your Xbox Live-based friends would "come with you" to Xbox One. Of course they will.
More friends. You can now have up to 1,000 friends in your friends list.
Followers. As with Twitter, you can now follow others, and others can follow you. Followers aren't friends, they're people who can view your public activities, including game scores and achievements. If you follow a person and they follow you too, a more interactive relationship occurs in which you can see when "each other are online, what achievements you earn in real time and what you're up to on Xbox One."
Activity feed. You can see what your friends are up to in your activity feed.
Share. As with social networking services, you can now share your Xbox Live-based games and entertainment with your friends and followers.
Community-based challenges. While this is apparently still evolving, it looks like Microsoft will be creating challenges that need to be finished by a community of users—a group of friends, perhaps, or followers—and that in completing such a challenge, the individuals can unlock an Achievement.
Discovery. You can also use the Friends app to find out about new Xbox One games and activities.
Frankly, this all makes a ton of sense, assuming the privacy controls are in place so that users who prefer not to participate in this stuff can do so. That's a safe bet, given Microsoft's track record.
Check out New Friends App and Multiplayer Features for Xbox Live on Xbox One on the Xbox web site for more details.