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Plugged In

Microsoft shows off Twitter-like Friends app for Xbox One

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(Credit: Microsoft)

With over 48 million registered users, Xbox Live is about as popular as an online gaming network gets. The Xbox One hopes to make navigating that sea of gamers much friendlier.

In a blog post Monday, Microsoft’s Major Nelson demonstrated the upcoming console’s “Friends” app. You can have a whopping 1,000 friends -- it will import your Xbox 360 friends list as well -- but taking a nod from Twitter, you’ll also be able to ‘follow’ people rather than fully friend them.

The difference between a friend and a follower is in terms of privacy. If someone is following you, they’ll see your updates, achievements, and uploaded videos, but won’t see your private information. You can also choose to block followers altogether if you’re the paranoid type. And if two people follow one another, they’re considered friends.

To make sorting through a few hundred friends less of a pain, the Xbox One lets you tag ‘favorites’ for easy access. Major Nelson also showed off the ability to snap the activities feed to the side of your main screen, giving you a quick glimpse into what your friends are doing in real-time. It’s a nice way to keep track of your pals without leaving your game.

The spokesman also tossed out a tidbit about achievements. This time around, there will be two types of achievements: the standard, game-specific type we’re all obsessing over with the 360, and a new time-based challenge set, which can only be nabbed by playing during specific timeframes. It’s a sneaky way to make sure gamers are online and playing when you want them to be. Music to your ears, potential Xbox One advertisers?

Expect to hear more about the console’s features in the weeks leading up to its Nov. 22 launch.

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