E3 2013: Microsoft on Xbox One's new achievement system

The Xbox 360 game console introduced the world to Xbox Live Achievements when Microsoft launched the console in 2005. The upcoming Xbox One will extend that achievement system with an all new sub categories called challenges.

In a new post on the Major Nelson website, Cierra McDonald, Microsoft's Program Manager for the Xbox Live Achievements service, reveals that in addition to the traditional achievements, Xbox One challenges will be time based. In other words, they will only be active for a certain period of time before the chance to unlock them goes away, while the traditional achievements can be unlocked in games at any time.

Challenges can also be set up by game developers to cross over into multiple games, unlike regular achievements, and challenges can be unlocked by a group of gamers. For example, a weekend challenge to kill a certain number of enemies in one weekend can involve all of the people who play a particular game.

The biggest difference between challenges and achievements is that unlocking challenges won't increase a person's Xbox Live Gamerscore. McDonald states:

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.

The new achievement system is also cloud-based on the Xbox One, which means that they will not require game developers to offer DLC content to add achievements to their games.

Source: Major Nelson | Image via Microsoft

Neowin's E3 2013 coverage is sponsored by Alienware

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My big question: Will my current gamerscore roll over to the X1?
I've always assumed that it would. ...and yes, I know they are pointless, but I'm addicted to them. :-)

I believed they said yes. Your profile, score, and assuming friend's list rolls over. DLC and all of that won't since it's not compatible. However your video content that you may have order rolls over.

maybe I just don't play xbox enough but this sentence makes no sense to me

"The new achievement system is also cloud-based on the Xbox One, which means that they will not require game developers to offer DLC content to add achievements to their games."

Was the old system not "cloud based" aka had servers on the internet? Now the fact you can add stuff without a patch *cough* um DLC is interesting as they could set them up at will, but technically that has nothing to do with being cloud based that is just a policy that MS had in place before that didn't allow it

Old system had fixed achievements in a game and to add new, developers had to release DLC. The new system allows updating achievements without any updates and are not set in stone.

The not adding achievements unless you add DLC was a MS policy, not a technology limitation, and one they were willing to look the other way on, such as with Halo, they just patched the game, it's not really any different, do you think if someone is offline for their 24h window and a developer adds achievements in that period they'll show up for the offline people? of course not, the only difference now is the patch is applied silently, this is hardly news and doesn't make achievements any more -cloud based-(I seriously hate this term, it's an overused marketing term)

I must be the only one that thinks this isn't all that great. What happens if I come back to a game a year or so later to work on some achievements that I simply couldn't get earlier when the chance to unlock was around?

Goldfire86 said,
I must be the only one that thinks this isn't all that great. What happens if I come back to a game a year or so later to work on some achievements that I simply couldn't get earlier when the chance to unlock was around?

The time limited ones are "challenges", normal "achievements" have no time limit. Challenges are like something that a developer might do for some sort of public event in a MMO. Or something along those lines, they said it doesn't add to your gamerscore like achievements do but that you can get other things for doing them.

If you just care about achievements and raising your gamerscore then you won't see a difference if you play the game a year later. If you want to get in on free stuff for finishing a challenge, well then, you've lucked out I guess.

If the challenges are only temporary, they should use a sort of cash incentive. If they're getting rid of Microsoft Points, the challenges should give you small cash amounts to put towards something in the Live Marketplace, such as an Avatar addon (if they're keeping avatars), or DLC, or even small time extensions to your Gold subscription, makes all the difference to some people

Tidosho said,
If the challenges are only temporary, they should use a sort of cash incentive. If they're getting rid of Microsoft Points, the challenges should give you small cash amounts to put towards something in the Live Marketplace, such as an Avatar addon (if they're keeping avatars), or DLC, or even small time extensions to your Gold subscription, makes all the difference to some people

I think they depend on who makes the game, if it's a MS game they could give you that maybe. Otherwise the game dev could give you game related items, or exp points, or who knows what? It's really up to them it sounds like.

Spicoli said,
With the Kinect they can add some things like "Couch Potato - you are now wider than you are tall" or "Heart Attack - your resting heart rate is shockingly high".

Ha! That would be hilarious.

'The new achievement system is also cloud-based on the Xbox One, which means that they will not require game developers to offer DLC content to add achievements to their games.'
What? So games on the 360 only have achievements if they have DLC?

n_K said,
'The new achievement system is also cloud-based on the Xbox One, which means that they will not require game developers to offer DLC content to add achievements to their games.'
What? So games on the 360 only have achievements if they have DLC?

No, it means developers can add achievements on the fly without having the player having to download new content first.

n_K said,
'The new achievement system is also cloud-based on the Xbox One, which means that they will not require game developers to offer DLC content to add achievements to their games.'
What? So games on the 360 only have achievements if they have DLC?

You really, honestly, didn't understand what she said? It's clear cut, achievements are fixed when a game dev releases the game because they're set inside the game disc. The only way to add new ones is through DLC, which is what she was talking about. Now though, since the achievements aren't fixed in stone when the game is done developers can add newer ones through XBL on the fly.

Mikeffer said,

No, it means developers can add achievements on the fly without having the player having to download new content first.

Which I really wonder about. Currently a game gets 1,000 points and DLC can get what, 250 each? So, if they can add achievements without adding DLC, does that mean that games will all have different amounts of gamerscore available out of the box? I'm not sure I like that...

M_Lyons10 said,

Which I really wonder about. Currently a game gets 1,000 points and DLC can get what, 250 each? So, if they can add achievements without adding DLC, does that mean that games will all have different amounts of gamerscore available out of the box? I'm not sure I like that...

I'd imagine they still have a quota to stick to, it's just more flexible on how they go about implementing it. Maybe they get a launch quota and over time they can use from an additional pool?

M_Lyons10 said,

Which I really wonder about. Currently a game gets 1,000 points and DLC can get what, 250 each? So, if they can add achievements without adding DLC, does that mean that games will all have different amounts of gamerscore available out of the box? I'm not sure I like that...

There's still probably a base to stick to, 1k for main game and an extra 500 or w/e that they can add now or add with DLC. That doesn't effect the new challenge system though since it doesn't add to gamerscore in the end.

There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

still_rookie said,
All I see is xbox news on Neowin. What about PS4? Is there some sort of bias?

Neo"Win" has always been more Microsoft orientated and then developed in to a more rounded tech news site.

You bet their is a ton of it, being this site was first founded as a Microsoft, Apple and sometime Linux news site. But more Microsoft. This is one of the main reason you see so many people defending Microsoft on this site.

netavenger said,
There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

This man gets it! This! So much this!

still_rookie said,
All I see is xbox news on Neowin. What about PS4? Is there some sort of bias?

It's just how the news is released...

Sony PS4 is less interesting too.

netavenger said,
There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

Really? Is that how we're justifying our XBox love now? BOTH systems are adding new features besides hardware upgrades, and I will be obtaining both, but if you want to put tunnel vision goggles on, then the XBox One is just a hardware upgrade with more restrictions. Oh, and it's playing catch up by adding Blu Ray, TV, and offering free games with a paid membership.

But whatever helps you sleep.

netavenger said,
There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

Exactly. Whereas Microsoft went the route of trying to change the industry and bring new experiences to consumers, Sony just stuck more RAM in the PS3 and called it a day...

omgben said,

Really? Is that how we're justifying our XBox love now? BOTH systems are adding new features besides hardware upgrades, and I will be obtaining both, but if you want to put tunnel vision goggles on, then the XBox One is just a hardware upgrade with more restrictions. Oh, and it's playing catch up by adding Blu Ray, TV, and offering free games with a paid membership.

But whatever helps you sleep.

hes right. there is nothing interesting to report. neowin I believe covers stuff fairly,and when there is news,they report it. youre probably going to be very disappointed in the coming months, as when Microsoft releases all the details about Kinect, cloud offloading, apps/game development, all the tv features and integration,etc...

netavenger said,
There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

THIS.

Xilo said,
Neowin is incredibly biased. It's like asking Fox news not to report sensationalist scare mongering news.

Look over all the articles from this year and tell me who they are bias towards?

Even people think Neowin is incredibly biased, they still hang out here all the time ...
This proves no matter how much people think XboxOne is bad, they will still buy it over PS4.

Xilo said,
Neowin is incredibly biased. It's like asking Fox news not to report sensationalist scare mongering news.

There is plenty of PS4 news if you really want to know why there isn't as much- its because there is basically no difference between PS3 and PS4... just a hardware upgrade, hence nothing to report apart from having to pay for online.

What a terribly ignorant thing to say.
Controller update? New isight camera that tracks your movements? Online user sharing etc?
Maybe news like this: http://www.viddler.com/v/944416f2

RawGutts said,
You bet their is a ton of it, being this site was first founded as a Microsoft, Apple and sometime Linux news site. But more Microsoft. This is one of the main reason you see so many people defending Microsoft on this site.

Any why any posts criticizing Microsoft gets flagged as "trolling", whether the criticism is warranted or not.

Yeah, the PS4 is not as interesting as watching Microsoft screw up. It's basically the "reality TV suspense" where someone does something incredibly stupid, everyone gasps, and the announcer says, "FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF CONSOLE WARZ!"

still_rookie said,
All I see is xbox news on Neowin. What about PS4? Is there some sort of bias?

I was actually thinking the opposite way for the past 3 days. all I have seen was that PS4 is cool and awesome and xbox one is a crap and dead on arrival.

John Nemesh said,

Any why any posts criticizing Microsoft gets flagged as "trolling", whether the criticism is warranted or not.

Your comment is completely unfounded.

Sounds good to me, if the new time sensitive challenges gets you free stuff instead of gamerscore then i'm all for it.

GP007 said,
Sounds good to me, if the new time sensitive challenges gets you free stuff instead of gamerscore then i'm all for it.

Yeah, have they said what you get for these challenges? If it's not gamerscore, then what?

GP007 said,
Sounds good to me, if the new time sensitive challenges gets you free stuff instead of gamerscore then i'm all for it.

Yeah, have they said what you get for these challenges? If it's not gamerscore, then what?

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah, have they said what you get for these challenges? If it's not gamerscore, then what?

They didn't say specifically, it's up to the game maker but it could be game related stuff, items, points, or w/e.

GP007 said,

They didn't say specifically, it's up to the game maker but it could be game related stuff, items, points, or w/e.

That's cool. I just hope it's worthwhile stuff, otherwise it will flounder... I wouldn't mind more trophy's for avatars and stuff... That was never really used much...