Friday, February 2, 2007

VIDEO GAMES: Microsoft Lays Down Achievement Law

Microsoft releases new guidelines in an attempt to tighten up achievements.

Recently Realtime Worlds, the developer behind the upcoming Xbox 360 game Crackdown, announced that their free-roam game will ship with only 900 possible achievement points. Some gamers were upset, speculating that the additional 100 Gamerscore would only be available through a priced content download from the Xbox Live Marketplace and that they'd be milked for more cash if they wished to earn the game's complete Gamerscore.

Microsoft decided to take action and release a new set of guidelines in an attempt to bring order back their beloved achievements. Here they are:

1. All retail disc-based games must have a total of 1,000 possible Gamerscore points to be earned. Anyone who purchases the game will be able to earn all 1,000 points without any additional purchases. Although, publishers may release a portion of this gamerscore on the Xbox Live Marketplace but it must be a free download.

2. Publishers may release an additional 250 Gamerscore on top of the standard 1,000 via download from Xbox Live Marketplace. Gamers may be charged for this download, or it may be free, it's up to the game's publisher.

3. Xbox Live Arcade games are very similar but work with lower Gamerscore totals. For example, XBLA games will release with a maximum of 200 Gamerscore points. A possible 50 points can then be downloaded from the Marketplace if the publisher chooses to offer them.

I'm glad that Microsoft is tightening up their Gamerscore policy. With achievement unlocking being as popular as it is, it needed some more moderating. I also hear that they might be planning to reward gamers with higher Gamerscores, this could be a step in that direction.


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