To go with the new look of its console, Microsoft has announced a new, way of interacting with your friends, and it’s following in the footsteps of a popular social network.
Much like Twitter, the Xbox Live friends list now works on a system of “following” people. When you add someone to your friends list in the new Friends app on the Xbox One, you’re going to start following them, and their activity will show up in the feed of your friends’ activity. But unless they follow you back, your activity won’t show up in their feed.
If you and a friend both follow one another, you’ll be able to see additional information about one another, like when they earn achievements and when they sign on to the service, similar to the existing friends functionality on the Xbox 360.
Primarily, though, Microsoft is touting the new following functionality in much the same way Twitter does: as a way to connect with people more famous than you.
“A great driver in ‘Forza Motorsport 5,’ for example, could have a huge group of thousands or even millions of followers all tracking their performance in-game,” Xbox Live Program Manager Rob Lehew said in a press release. “Those followers can have this driver on their personal leaderboard so that they can constantly keep track of how they stack-up, and they can potentially connect online with the driver to get into a race with him.”
If you’d prefer to be more private about your gaming, that’s okay. Microsoft says that it will be possible to restrict whether people can follow you without you following them back, like making your profile private on Twitter.
And, if your following habits mean that you end up with a friends list that’s too big to handle, you can add friends who you want to regularly interact with to a list of favorites for easy access to their profiles and activity.
All of these new features will be available on the Xbox One when it launches on November 22.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.
- key specs
- reviews • 25
- Game formatOptical disc, Downloadable
- Online featuresMultiplayer, Voice chat, Video chat, Store, Browser
- Drive capacity500 GB
- Controller typeWired, Wireless
- Motion controlsCamera / optical
- Video outputsHDMI