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(Pocket-lint) - As we await the launch of the next-generation consoles later in the year, more features have become concrete as Sony and Microsoft race to create excitement.

On Tuesday, Microsoft confirmed to Pocket-lint a more than welcome feature for the Xbox One that will allow users to play games as they're downloading from the Xbox Marketplace to the console. As more games begin to move to the digital arena, rather than be disc-based, this will get gamers playing their favourite titles quicker, instead of sitting around for the large file to download. 

“Consumers will be able to sign on to any Xbox One console and have access to all their digital games," Microsoft wrote. "Once the required data – a fraction of the entire game – is on their hard drive, they can jump into the action while the rest of the game finishes downloading in the background.  And of course, on Xbox 360, consumers today can download their digital games on any console after signing in to their Xbox Live account.”

Sony was the first to announce the play as you download feature when it took the wraps off the PlayStation 4 at its event in February. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will need only a fraction of the game downloaded before gameplay begins, but it doesn't sound like it will need too much. We look forward to giving both a spin later this year.

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Previously, Microsoft announced that when users are installing disc-based games to the console (which is required), they will be able to play them once a certain percentage is installed.

Interestingly, Sony's play as you download feature will let you choose to first download the single-player or multiplayer part of the game, letting you access your favourite part faster.

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Writing by Jake Smith.