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Next-gen Xbox Live details: Background downloads, skill tracking, 1000 friends

New Live is 'more powerful, more personal and more intelligent," says MS

Xbox Live will receive enhanced cloud functionality, improved matchmaking and new social features when the new Xbox One console arrives 'later this year', Microsoft has detailed.

[ Xbox One: All the News | All the facts | Full gallery | All the videos | Early specs ]

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The platform holder promises "an all-new generation of Xbox Live that is more powerful, more personal and more intelligent".

Xbox One players will be able to install games in "segments", allowing them to start playing before the full game is downloaded. Automatic background downloads and updates will also feature, doing away with annoying update prompts when you start a game.

New matchmaking tech MS calls "Smart Match" will give you an estimated wait time on finding other players in a multiplayer game, and allow you to engage in other activities while you wait, such as watch TV or Skype.

The new system will also track your skill levels more accurately to find you equally-capable opponents. "On Xbox One, your Xbox Live reputation fundamentally matters and helps you find the best match based on skill, game style and language for a deeper online multiplayer gaming challenge," says the PR.

A 'Game DVR' feature will let you capture gameplay footage and post highlights to your Xbox Live profile - seemingly similarly to the PS4's 'Share' button functionality.

The firm also claims that games will use the cloud to "evolve and learn from actual players, letting you play against your friends' shadow" and that "dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play", although nothing of this was demonstrated at the reveal event.

Existing Xbox Live Gold memberships will "seamlessly carry over to Xbox One", says MS, and every gamer will have access to cloud storage space for profile and game data saving. The firm made no mention of annual subscription pricing on the new console, although it's safe to assume similar - if not identical - pricing schemes to Xbox 360, with a feature-restricted free option also offered.

Gamerscores will also carry over from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, and a new Achievements system will feature new social elements that let you share your accomplishments with friends. "An expanded achievements system captures videos of gameplay and continues to grow achievements over time," explains the platform holder.

Finally, Microsoft has confirmed the new Xbox Live friends list will accommodate 1000 people.

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