Give me Recognition. Give me Rewards.
Heero sent me a shocker this morning, in the form of a link to IGN's fantastical, speculative story about Microsoft's plans to provide their loyal Xbox gamers with material rewards for unlocking special achievements.
I hope you held on to you trousers and socks. Could it be, the promised land? Rewards for achievements? Skills for kills (figuratively)?
The article was quick to point out that nothing has been ironed out yet, with information only pointing to the Xbox team's intention to team up with sponsors in working out a FREE rewards program for gamers to register with.
Poll any 360 gamer and more likely than not they will tell you that unlocking achievements is a reward unto itself. But for Microsoft to take this next logical step and provide material incentive for us gamers to do something that we compulsively do anyway... well, let's just say I didn't need my usual cup of joe to jolt me out of my early morning torpor at the office today. This news, speculative as it is, is just fantastic. My mind began racing as to what sort of prizes they had in mind and what ungodly feats of joystick mastery would be required to unlock these special achievements? Surely, they would be rather difficult or time-intensive achievements, if only to limit the drain on supply and maintain a desirable level of cachet for these rewards.
I personally would like to see them go big. Complete a shooter on the highest difficulty, without dieing, and be rewarded with a free year of Live Gold. Rack up a staggering kill count in deathmatch in a set amount of time and win a generous credit to purchase new accessories. The possibilities are endless and this rewards program can only benefit all parties involved: the players, the community, the sponsors and of course, Microsoft.
I haven't spent any time with the online services from Sony and Nintendo. With news like this, you have to wonder what they have up their respective sleeves to catch up with XBL. If and when this rewards program kicks in, I can see Live becoming this unstoppable juggernaut. Ninty and Sony would either continue their arduous game of catch-up or strike out in a completely novel direction. What that would be is anyone's guess.
For now, I'm very happy with the rewards program rumour. It just makes so much sense, you know, that is feels as good as done. It is indeed a good time to be a 360 fanboy.