Xbox One will offer two flavours of arbitrary reward: standard achievements and time-specific challenges. Though Gamerscore will still be a primary hook, earning achievements will also unlock bonuses such as characters, artwork, maps and even temporary stat boosts. On the entertainment side of things, you can potentially even earn subscription extensions.
Yes, you can earn achievements for watching telly.
"With Xbox One, we are once again breaking the mold and this time, we want consumers to reap more tangible benefits," Microsoft's Cierra McDonald writes on Major Nelson's blog. "In addition to Gamerscore, which will remain as a critical part of the Xbox gaming experience (and yes, your Gamerscore from Xbox 360 will carry forward to Xbox One – there’s only ONE Gamerscore (see what I did there?)), consumers can now unlock digital artwork, new maps, unlockable characters, and temporary stat boosts via achievements."
Music and video apps will also support achievements, though won't include gamerscore. Instead you'll unlock "awesome sneak peek content, early access, or subscription extensions." I daresay that the latter will require an outrageous time commitment, mind.
Challenges, however, are a brand new feature. They function much like online challenges in existing games, giving you temporary goals to complete in a strict timeframe. Instead of Gamerscore, they're linked to a DVR capture of your epic moment in the sun, and function effectively as bragging rights. Here's the checklist:
- Challenges are time based. As just noted, challenges are only available for a certain period of time. Only your activity during that timeframe will count toward unlocking the challenge. Achievements do not expire, so you can unlock them at your leisure.
- Challenges do not give out Gamerscore. 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.
- Challenges may cross titles, but achievements cannot. Achievements cannot be shared across titles whereas challenges are allowed to span multiple titles.
- Challenges can be unlocked by the community. Community challenges are typically goals that exceed what a lone player can accomplish in the given period of time. Imagine, for example, a game releases a headshot weekend challenge that requires players to cumulatively headshot 1 million baddies in a 3 day period. And every person who participates and meets the challenge’s goals gets the unlock on his or her achievement history and reaps its reward.