Aside from the obvious differences between the new Xbox One and the 360 that were announced at E3 2013, there is at least one other Xbox staple that is getting a slight tweak. The rumors were true, and the tweaking will be done to the Achievements system. Who better to hand out all the Gamerscore-inflating details than Cierra McDonald, the Program Manager for the Xbox Live Achievements service. She spilled the details in a write-up for Xbox Live’s Major Nelson.

McDonald said that Achievements are getting a few changes once they debut on the Xbox One. It really doesn’t seem to be as much about changing as it is about expanding them in their current form, as well as refining them with a few new features that will make them easier to incorporate into play.

First things first, existing Gamerscore will carry over onto the Xbox One. No starting from zero. All the past hard work will be visible on the new machine. Additionally, Achievements have been overhauled to reward the player with more actual goodies.

Here’s what McDonald had to say:

“With Xbox One, we are once again breaking the mold and this time, we want consumers to reap more tangible benefits. In addition to Gamerscore, which will remain as a critical part of the Xbox gaming experience… consumers can now unlock digital artwork, new maps, unlockable characters, and temporary stat boosts via achievements.”

It was noted that apps will also be able to include Achievements now. So perhaps binge-watching the new Halo show will lead to some in-game item for Master Chief in his next go around. As long as purchasing, viewing or listening content doesn’t lead to easy Achievements, the new system shouldn’t ruffle too many feathers.

The design for the Xbox One console

The other major change is the addition of Challenges. While these fall under the blanket of Achievements, there are some differences between them and the regular Achievements to which gamers have become accustomed.

Challenges are time based. As just noted, challenges are only available for a certain period of time. Only your activity during that timeframe will count toward unlocking the challenge. Achievements do not expire, so you can unlock them at your leisure.

Challenges do not give out Gamerscore. We want everyone to have the same shot at increasing their Gamerscore to its highest potential. Since challenges are intentionally temporary (an opportunity) and achievements never expire (a promise), only achievements may offer Gamerscore as a reward.

Challenges may cross titles, but achievements cannot. Achievements cannot be shared across titles whereas challenges are allowed to span multiple titles.

Challenges can be unlocked by the community. Community challenges are typically goals that exceed what a lone player can accomplish in the given period of time. Imagine, for example, a game releases a headshot weekend challenge that requires players to cumulatively headshot 1 million baddies in a 3 day period. And every person who participates and meets the challenge’s goals gets the unlock on his or her achievement history and reaps its reward.

There was also mention of achievements being cloud based and this would allow for things like community achievements, the ongoing addition of achievements and the dynamic altering of achievements.

A multi-layered approach to jazz up a stagnant Achievement system could certainly help rejuvenate it a bit and give it more importance. Many gamers were pretty underwhelmed when Microsoft announced the “rewards” they would be getting for the countless hours, not to mention dollars, spent inflating their Gamerscore, so the ability to win some in-game awesomeness on the fly is a welcome addition and gives a hair more purpose to Achievement hunting.

It also should be noted that quite a few games on the various mobile platforms have already had great success with things like community based goals and challenges. Most of them resulting in an in-game reward of some kind. Microsoft has the right stable of games to turn these challenges into massive community events, here’s to hoping they actually utilize them.

What do the Ranters say about the new and improved(…or not?) Achievement system. Have you always been an Achievement hunter and this is just fuel for the fire, or were you never really interested in Microsoft’s imaginary, chest beating metanumber, but this has your attention? Do you have any other ideas of how they could utilize these new features? Let us know below.

Source: Major Nelson