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Xbox One's new Achievements system explained, time-based Challenges don't reward Gamerscore

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The Xbox One will include a new system for Achievements, the unlockable rewards embedded in every 360 game, and the details for the system was revealed today on the blog of Microsoft spokesman Major Nelson.

The system is broken down into two categories: traditional Achievements and special Challenges. Achievements will operate mostly like they always have, save for a few key differences. First off, developers will be able to add new permanent Achievements to their games at any time using cloud-based updates, instead of requiring users to purchase new DLC to make them available. They'll also be able to create more emergent Achievements based on how people play their games.

"For example, let's say a certain game is known on community forums to have a fun little sub-game of kicking chickens," Cierra McDonald, Program Manager for the Xbox Live Achievements service wrote. "Wouldn't it be amazing if the game developers noticed the community enjoying an unintended aspect of the game and creating a challenge around it, with a reward to boot?"

Challenges, unlike Achievements, don't have to be permanent. They can be made unlockable within a narrow window, can be unlocked for accomplishments across multiple titles, and can be unlocked by the entire community instead of just a single player. For example, a developer can set a Challenge goal for a game's entire community to complete, like getting one million kills in a shooter.

Challenges can also be unlocked in non-gaming applications such as "video and music apps", and can give players perks like "digital artwork, new maps, unlockable characters, and temporary stat boosts." However, they can't reward Gamerscore — that will be limited to traditional Achievements. There's also no mention of challenges earned through watching commercials, a concept Microsoft patented earlier this year.

Unlocking either will cause an icon to show up on your Achievement history and profile, and some can automatically kick off the Xbox One's built-in DVR, recording your success on video to share.

For more information on the new system, check out the post on Major Nelson's blog.