Xbox One Countdown: Taking Social Seriously

By Jared Scott on November 18, 2013, 5:29PM EDT

The Xbox One may have started off on the wrong foot earlier this year, but it is by no means down for the count. With a handsome set of exclusive video game content, there's no telling how things will turn out. But Microsoft knows that games alone are no longer enough. Here today we bring to you the impressive social features that will be on the Xbox One.

One of the advantages that Microsoft has touted over Sony and the PS4 this year is the Xbox One's ability of "snapping" apps side by side. With little to no load time, gamers can take two of any of their favorite apps, have them share the screen, and run simultaneously. For families, Dad can finally watch the news or view the ESPN app without interrupting little Johnny's fun as he plays games such as Titanfall or even talks with his school buddies on Skype's group chat.

In fact, using the Kinect, neither Dad nor little Johnny has to go through the trouble of scrolling through menus or pausing his fun. With a few simple voice commands, the two apps will share the screen. However, the screen will not be equally shared by the apps. Video games will receive the greater screen space when combined with an app.

Taking what is already available in social media and making it its own, Xbox One will feature the Friends App. Some of the features that users will find comfortably familiar include the ability to follow someone without them following you back and blocking others from following you. Using the activity feed, the Friends List will let gamers view a list of their friends, followers, recent activity, achievements, uploads, and more. The activity feed will also be updated in real time for the most up to date information.

Speaking of achievements, gamers who have both an Xbox 360 and an Xbox One will have two sets of achievements. This is great news for those who may have worried that their stats from two versions of the same game would merge or somehow cheat them out of their achievement total.

A compliant that Xbox 360 owners had about the Friend List was that it was just too small to fit all of their gaming friends that they had met throughout the years. Microsoft has answered their demand by stretching the limitations of the Friend List to a staggering 1000.

One of the fun features of the Xbox 360 was the Avatars users can create. Thankfully, these Avatars can be transferred over to the Xbox One. If gamers want to try something a little different, they can instead use a full HD body picture of themselves as their Avatar. This will likely be done using the Xbox One's Kinect.

As Xbox One gamers enjoy themselves immersed in their favorite games, they will be able to use voice chat with seven of their best friends. While voice chat can only support a total of eight gamers at this time, Microsoft has hinted that they may further increase that number sometime in the future.

While limited to Xbox Live Gold members, the Xbox One may have a bit of an edge in the area of recording gameplay. Microsoft has shown with the upcoming FIFA 14 that the system will automatically records gamers' "best moments" in the game such as scoring goals. It is not out of the realm of possibility that this feature will be passed on to many other Xbox One games, which would give the system a powerful edge over Sony's PS4.

For games other than FIFA 14, the Xbox One will automatically record the last five minutes of gameplay and store it on the system's hard drive. However, gamers can also use voice commands to record footage whenever they want. The footage is recorded in 720p at 30 frames per second. Using a service titled Upload, gameplay footage will also be uploaded into the cloud. Upload also permits users to manage, edit, and share the clips with friends.

Users can stream their gameplay via Twitch, but this will be limited to Xbox Live Gold members only.

Just like the PS4, the Xbox One will have Ubisoft's Uplay service. Though it has yet to be fully detailed, Uplay on the PC has the ability to let gamers suspend gameplay in order to view a social feed. This feed shows what your friends have been up to in the world of gaming similarly to the Friends App. Using points you earned by unlocking achievements, players are able to exchange points for DLC that can be used in their games.

Xbox One is out to prove that not only is it a gaming system worthy of this generation, but a social one as well.

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