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Xbox One Achievements photo
Xbox One Achievements

Xbox One Achievements detailed, will carry over from 360

Achievements can now unlock more content (gulp)
Jun 13
// Chris Carter
Brace yourselves, tons of Achievement info is coming. Major Nelson dropped a novel of information on Achievements recently, and it goes into a lot of detail on how the new system will work. There's a lot of stuff to comb thro...
Xbox One Achievements photo
Xbox One Achievements

Microsoft: Devs have monthly cap for adding Achievements

'We don't want to overwhelm gamers'
May 31
// Brett Makedonski
With the impending change of guard of Xbox consoles, Microsoft is taking the opportunity to revamp its Achievement system. There have been plenty of rumors surrounding Xbox One Achievements, but Microsoft shed a bit of light ...

Confessions of an Achievement whore: Demands for next-gen

May 23 // mrandydixon
Whore or not, at least I've never stooped this low; no really, here's the proof! Confessions of an Achievement whore Let me just make one thing clear before I go any further, in case there was any doubt: I fucking love Achievements. (And, to a lesser extent, Trophies -- AKA the Ben Affleck to Achievements' Matt Damon.) From the first time I heard that now-familiar "Achievement Unlocked" chime to the day I sent a little garden gnome into space, I've grown to love Achievement-hunting nearly as much as playing the games themselves, and I wouldn't trade their existence for anything. As an Achievement lover, I'm the first to admit that not all of them are created equal. Far from it, in fact. For every creative, challenges-the-way-you-play "One Free Bullet" Achievement, there's a lazy, out-of-place "Hypercaffeinated" collection quest. I'm proud to say I earned the "Neighborhood Watch" Achievement in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (and I did earn it), but the fact that I spent multiple hours of my life checking every nook and cranny for jars of Royal Jelly in the ultra-meh Aliens vs Predator to get the "Quite a Specimen" Achievement is something I certainly won't be putting on my résumé any time soon. I hate bad Achievements. Even more, I hate that -- in spite of my distaste for them -- I still feel driven to whore myself out for them in pursuit of my completion percentage. But it isn't my fault; I'm wired this way. Luckily, all hope is not lost. At least, it doesn't have to be. Here's my list of demands: Seriously, it's that easy Achievement unlocked: Tracked our progress One of the bigger annoyances for an Achievement seeker is seeing a "Kill X amount of Y" Achievement and having no idea how many Ys you've left to kill. As more and more games approach these (and other) Achievements with a simple, in-game tracking system, there is really no excuse for all developers to not follow suit. One of the first (and still best) examples of this kind of tracking is evident in the latter Gears of War games. Beginning in Gears 2, every time you hit a pre-defined milestone towards an Achievement, a small, unobtrusive overlay would appear on the screen alerting you to your progress. Talk about convenient! And if you somehow missed the pop-up, you could easily head into the in-game journal and view it again there. Brilliant! Thankfully, this system has been implemented in more and more games as of late, but there are still a few notorious exceptions by developers who seemingly missed the memo or still insist on exporting their stats to secondary apps. (Looking at you, Halo Waypoint.) Take note, developers: we're watching you! So isn't it about time you started watching us? (No, not like that.) Art by Braccini Achievement unlocked: Didn't waste our time Nothing is more aggravating than a time-wasting collection quest with no in-game explanation, logic, or reward. While many games at least attempt to award you as you "find all the things" via incremental upgrades to your stats (see Crackdown, Enslaved, and Infamous) and others go one step further and tie bits of additional story to each item found (see the BioShock and Arkham games), others still have no value for our time at all, and it's time to put that trend to bed. Sure, it may have been fun for Remedy to hide a hundred coffee thermoses in the forests and trailer parks of Alan Wake, but was it fun for us collecting them? Hell no! And how about those pieces of "intelligence" you have to find in every Call of Duty game ever made? Doesn't sound too intelligent to me! There's really no need for these boring, time-filling side-quests. Developers, if you're worried your games will be too short or have less replay value without these mindless collect-a-thons, then that probably says more about your game than anything else. So knock it off! The part where he kills you Achievement unlocked: Timed your notifications wisely Nothing can ruin a good cutscene like a poorly-timed Achievement notification. I still remember playing through the original Gears of War and defeating General RAAM (oops, spoiler), and as soon as the movie started playing showing him dying (crap, spoiler) a half-dozen notifications popped up telling me that I had killed RAAM (dammit, there it is again), that I had beaten the last chapter of the game, that I had completed the game on at least easy mode, that I had completed the game on at least normal mode, that Marcus and Dom would live happily ever after, etc. Not only was this distracting as hell, but it pretty much told me "OK, game's over. You can put the controller down now." Why not wait until after the cutscene finishes to tell me all this shit? It was sloppy and annoying, and we deserve better. On the flip side, Portal 2 is a great example of a game that capitalized on the Achievement system to great success. By timing their notifications perfectly to specific pieces of dialog or in-game actions, Valve added extra emphasis to already humorous and noteworthy scenes. More of that, please! Don't think too hard about this one or your brain might explode Achievement unlocked: Kept achievements single player-only This is a pretty controversial one, but in my experience, Achievements that can only be unlocked while playing online are a completionist's worst nightmare and should be abolished from the planet immediately. Yes, abolished! Why, you ask? Look back at this SPORTS! story from early 2010 (thanks, Samit!) as an example. If you remember, owners of NBA Live '07 gathered in Achievement trading forums across the web to make one last push to unlock the "1,000 People Online" Achievement, which required -- true to its name -- 1,000 people to be online and in the game simultaneously. Because EA was about to shut down the servers for the three-year-old SPORTS game, this movement was literally gamers' last chance at the Achievement (which, in the end, they successfully unlocked for 100 Gamerscore). But what if Good Guy EA hadn't given a warning in the first place? What if a publisher just turns off its servers one day for no reason at all? Or what if people just stop playing a game, as is too often the case for most annual sports games and shooter franchises? Bye bye, Achievements. This has personally happened to me on more than one occasion. I buy a lot of games used, years after their release. How many of them do you think still have active servers? Yeah, not many. Single-player only Achievements -- or even ones that can be unlocked via split-screen or system link -- are the only remedy. Achievement unlocked: Separated stock and DLC Achievements And finally, we get right to the heart of the matter. As a completion-obsessed gamer, it is disappointing knowing that the next generation is going to fuck with my stats. It's already bad enough that I can 100% a game only to have DLC come by and piss on my parade, but the idea of Achievements being tied to multiple games and susceptible to constant shuffling of the numbers? I might as well just give up now. I understand the appeal of these so-called dynamic Achievements; I really do. It's more interactive (read: social), and it will no doubt inspire a new generation of gamers to achieve even more... uh, Achievements. But for me personally -- the guy who was so mad when Fable 2's add-ons released and I lost my 100% completion percentage that I bought the DLC even though I knew it would probably suck -- well, I don't even think I need to finish that sentence. I think I may have a problem. ---------- And that's it for my list! What about you? Have any Achievement pet peeves you'd like to see addressed with the next generation? Sound off in the comments!
Achievement demands photo
My list of demands for the next generation of unnecessary but addictive meta-gaming
Earlier this month, Brett shared his love of Xbox Achievements with us, and cautioned that Microsoft's rumored next-generation revamp to the system may end up ruining part of what makes them great. For Brett, the idea of Achi...

I hate the rumored next Xbox Achievement system

May 01 // Brett Makedonski
For a while, cumulative Gamerscore held personal importance, as I thought that it was a nice measuring stick with which to compare to other players. However, it didn't take long before I realized that games like Avatar: The Burning Earth broke that metric. My Gamerscore currently sits at over 100,000, but I couldn't really care less about that. Instead, statistics such as 89 games with a full Gamerscore (according to my Xbox), and an Achievement completion rate of 72.7% do a much better job of painting the picture of my relationship to achievements. I bring all this up not to brag, but to let you know exactly how invested I am. And, if rumors of Microsoft's "rethinking" of next-generation Achievements are to be believed, they threaten to completely reverse all progress that they've made. According to the rumors that have surfaced, next-generation Xbox Achievements will allow developers to add Achievements without DLC, will be tied into communal events, and will feature cross-title and even cross-platform Achievements. Further, it's being said that at least one broad-scope Achievement falling under the communal event or cross-title/platform categories must be included on every list. If this is true, this will be a disaster. The reason that the Achievement system currently works is because Microsoft employs a very rigid infrastructure to maintain their integrity. Apart from a few very rare exceptions, games can't ship with more than 50 Achievements and 1000 Gamerscore. Policies are in place to regulate how new Achievements are added. It can be stifling at times, but it's better than the alternative. Without these restrictions in place, any semblance of credibility that the program has will be endangered. With developers free to add Achievements whenever they want, what's to stop them from making continual minuscule updates in a thinly-veiled attempt to keep their game "relevant"? If there is little-to-no regulation of Achievements, what's to stop companies from making their games worth an astronomical amount of Gamerscore? Admittedly, these are all very rough hypothetical questions at this point, but they're all issues that need to be addressed. From a completionist's perspective, the most disconcerting of the rumors are the ones related to community events. The very notion of missing out on attaining a full Gamerscore in a game because I didn't play my Xbox at a certain time makes me twitch. Even more agitating is the idea of buying a game several years after release and there being unobtainable Achievements because they needed to be earned at an event sometime around the game's launch. However, the most egregious offender, and the one that threatens to undermine the sincerity of the current system is the inclusion of cross-title and cross-platform Achievements. Achievements, as they exist now, reward players for accomplishing something. Some may come pretty easy, but at least they're earned by fulfilling criteria in a videogame. It feels downright dirty for Achievements to be awarded for playing multiple titles in a series, or worse yet, for using multiple Microsoft consoles, devices, websites, or applications. Those aren't Achievements; that's not achieving anything. That's being a corporate puppet. That's essentially seeing how much Gamerscore you can buy. Owning two different games or devices isn't noteworthy. And, the concept of needing to do it to have full Gamerscore on a particular title is enough to make me want to give up on the system altogether. I've enthusiastically collected Achievements throughout the years because they play perfectly to my mentality as a gamer. I'm sure I've spent hundreds of additional hours on the Xbox 360 that I wouldn't have if they hadn't existed. However, if the rumors regarding next-generation Achievements are true, it very well might turn me off for good. Your move, Microsoft.
Achievements photo
They had it right this generation
If I had to choose a single aspect of this generation of consoles that personally defined the past seven years, I'd immediately turn to the Xbox 360's Achievement system. For better and for worse, Achievements have completely...

Next Xbox Achievements photo
Next Xbox Achievements

Rumor: Next Xbox DRM is up to the individual publisher

Microsoft is also expected to expand the scope of Achievements
Apr 26
// Jordan Devore
Following yesterday's talk of price points and a potential November launch for the next Xbox, Polygon has compiled the latest it's heard about the console. Sources say that yes, there will be an always-online requirement pres...
WoW achievements photo
WoW achievements

World of Warcraft players really love those achievements

Earning 8.7 million a day
Mar 31
// Fraser Brown
I like to pretend that I'm above achievements and trophies, but that's a bare-faced lie. One minute I might be questioning the point or merit of these virtual marks of honor, but the next I'll be trying to earn them.  At...

Trends of this Generation: Digital distribution

Feb 20 // Daniel Starkey
This may not seem like that big of a deal at first. After all, where people buy their games has never really been that big of a deal, but if we really think about everything that’s changing now, almost all of it can be traced back to, in some way, the rise of digital distribution on the back of burgeoning broadband networks in almost every section of the globe. To truly understand just how important this is, you first need to understand a bit about the game industry itself. Generally speaking, most developers operate through a publisher that creates the physical discs, encodes them, creates the packaging and ships them out to the retailers. And that all takers place after the console manufacturer (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) approve the game for publication on their system. Everyone in that process gets a cut of the game’s final sales -- devs, pubs, console manufacturers, the shipping infrastructure, and the retailers. If the game is successful, then that translates into least money on the developer’s side for investment in future projects. Developers still risk almost everything while the potential rewards from that gamble are gobbled up by everyone else. Now, in many ways, this system helps subsidize the cost of consoles, and does provide extra capital to publishers who occasionally bankroll projects that might not otherwise ever see the light of day, but many developers would still prefer to see the largest percentage of sales come back to them as possible. While certainly not the first platform of its kind, Valve was able to get the ball rolling with the completion and distribution of Steam in 2003. Through it, players could search for, purchase, and download any games that were currently available. Valve, in some sense, acted as a publisher of sorts, by taking a small chunk of any sales -- after that though, the developers were allowed to keep whatever else was left. There was no retail store to deal with, and because Steam was only available on the PC, there was no one to approve of and license the game for distribution. That one change started a revolution, whose effects are becoming more and more apparent every day. After the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft established their digital storefront called Xbox Live Marketplace. Nintendo and Sony followed suit with the Wii Shop Channel and PlayStation Store, respectively. While the console crowd was a few years behind, their entrance into the digital distribution market would be no less influential. In the years since, each of their stores has seen an exceptional list of exclusives, and in an era where multi-platforms are the norm, that is no small thing. Fez, Journey and the entire BIT.TRIP series, were for a time, at least, exclusive to a different platform. While none of these stores completely overthrew the traditional publication model, they outlets seemed to favor smaller, cheaper games that were a bit more successful than their full-priced, AAA brethren. A new set of price points became the norm -- $5, $10 and $15, certainly a far cry from the $60 gamers were accustomed to paying. At those prices, consumers would be a bit more likely to take a risk on an untested product- even one that they had never heard of. Indie games like the ones I mentioned earlier plus dozens of others have become more and more common. In many ways this matches the general trend we’ve seen in all forms of media over the past decade. Instead of buying whole albums, customers can pick and choose tracks they like. People can get Netflix and try out all kinds of movies and television shows with very little financial risk. Ebooks and the ability of authors to self-publish online has given many, many more people a variety of options for media consumption. The real game changer here, the bit that has already started changing how the vast majority of people plays games has really only gained traction in the past two or three years. Games like Temple Run have been downloaded tens of millions of times, with Angry Birds recently topping one-billion downloads. That reaches a level of cultural ubiquity of which most can only dream. The PS2, the single most successful game console ever, has been around for 12 years and moved 150 million units. Android alone has 500 million devices in hands, with 1.3 million more activations per day. These numbers are absolutely ludicrous, and while I know many “core” gamers aren’t too thrilled about it, Nintendo and Sony, with their relatively modern handhelds, are still light years behind the new face of the market. It’s difficult to say exactly where all of this will end up, but portable gaming is here to stay, and the old guard has never seemed more incompetent and more resistant to change. A few closing thoughts If there's one thing that we should really be taking away from all of this, it is that this past generation has been nothing if not superlative. Our medium is growing, and it is doing so at an incredible rate. Yes, retail sales and the like have been in decline and yes, more than a few studios have seen their doors close earlier than they deserve, but the mainstream adoption of gaming in all its forms is incredible.  These days, everyone's a gamer.
Gaming trends photo
This changes everything
Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that ...

Trends of this Generation: Gamification

Feb 19 // Daniel Starkey
The Xbox 360 got the ball rolling on gamification with Gamerscore. Sony and Valve added their own achievement tracking systems. Each of these companies, in one form or another began rewarding players for in-game accomplishments with a cute sound effect and a small bit of text. There’s a lot of commentary and discussion about whether or not achievements and systems to track them have been good or bad for the industry as a whole; there can be no doubt that Valve, Microsoft and Sony have some major precedents, creating, in essence extrinsic motivators for in-game tasks. “Gamification.” People devote quite a bit of time to explaining and trying to understand how achievements can be used to encourage certain kinds of actions for the player. Since the discussion began among academics and game designers, countless people have implemented these subtle psychological tricks into their systems and into their software, especially in the realm of social media. Websites like Klout and the prevalence of social games have only accelerated the spread of these techniques. Hell, Raptr even gamified games themselves.  Gamification is used to help add to traditional MMOs, free to play games, not to mention the potential real-world applications. It’s a big world out there. And, bit by bit, we’re turning it into one big game. I'll admit to falling into the gamification trap, to a degree. Earlier this generation I was steered way from Wii games because there was no way to track my progress and show it off to friends. I use services like Yelp to try to get some of the badges, and that encourages me to check-in everywhere and earn coupons.  These kinds of achievements are a sort-of sucker punch to our ancient monkey brains. They use little traits that we have picked up over the years to help us combat laziness. When we receive small rewards for things, we're more likely to keep doing them. It help keeps us engaged and active, and is a small safeguard against boredom.  The issue here is one that relates to a lot of free-to-play titles, in that players are drawn in, then kept there by manipulating the natural way their brains are wired. It is disingenuous and manipulative, but as I see more and more studios closing their doors or getting bought up by the juggernauts, I can't help but think that for many it's their only choice.  Achievements and such aren't universally bad, though. Valve, forever the innovator, has layered them into its games in ways that encourage exploration, unique ways of play or even using them to reinforce the events of a game.  For example, in Half-Life 2 there's quite a few achievements for finding random things. This is used to encourage more lateral thinking as well as exploration of the environment. In Portal 2 (minor spoilers ahead) there's a chapter called "This is the part where he kills you," a character that says "This is the part where he kills you," and right before "he" kills you, an achievement pops-up with the same message. Similarly, at the end of the game, there's an achievement called "Lunacy" with the text "That just happened." Anyone who has finished the game knows just how ridiculous that scene is, and having that little friendly sound effect accompanied by some hilarious text, only serves to reinforce the experience.  Achievements are something I guess I've learned to live with. I don't really like them, but at the same time, having some method of tracking progress on a website like Fitocracy has actually been pretty good for me overall. I've used gamification to my own advantage whenever possible and I feel like I'm steadily becoming a better person because of it. That said, I know now to avoid those products which I feel will try to manipulate me into investing more than I am ready or willing to.
Gamification photo
Achievement unlocked!
Leading up the possible PlayStation 4 announcement on February 20, I've been looking into some paradigm shifts we've seen over the past generation. This is stuff that will likely be with us for a while; these are things that ...

BioShock Achievements photo
BioShock Achievements

Bioshock Infinite Achievements reveal new modes, weapons

Thar be spoilers in them thar cheevos
Feb 04
// Ian Bonds
Once again, Exophase has revealed a listing of in-game Achievements for an anticipated upcoming title, this time the long awaited Bioshock Infinite. For those of you who want to go into a title spoiler-free, you may want to a...
Revelations photo

Xbox Achievements for Resident Evil: Revelations surface

Further evidence of a console port
Jan 11
// Jordan Devore
Following its appearance on a South Korean ratings-board listing, it looks increasingly likely that Resident Evil: Revelations will be making the unusual, albeit very welcome jump from 3DS to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Exoph...

Earn Xbox Achievements on iOS with free game Wordament

What is this, Bizarro World?
Dec 23
// Jordan Devore
If you haven't yet played enough word-forming games to last you a lifetime, consider checking out Wordament. Previously available for Windows Phone and Windows 8, this title has now made it to the Apple App Store complete wit...

Earn Achievements to get rebates on Xbox Live purchases

Sep 28
// Jordan Devore
A couple of months ago, we were told that Xbox Live Rewards would be incentivizing Achievements this fall. Microsoft has now rolled out that functionality, which allows Gold users who sign up to earn rewards based on how many...

Angry Birds Trilogy has a 300-hour Achievement

Out now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and 3DS
Sep 25
// Jordan Devore
This week marks the release of Angry Birds Trilogy on 3DS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, a $39.99 ($29.99 for 3DS) compilation that includes Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio. There's the launch trailer, w...

Last year's most heartwarming game-related story was without a doubt that of Michael John Mamaril, the 22-year-old Borderands fan who lost his life to cancer. His friend Carlo sent an email to Gearbox Software explaining the ...


You'll be rewarded for your Achievements this fall

Jun 19
// Jordan Devore
Back when we collectively still had biweekly debates about the importance of Achievements or lack thereof, conversations frequently drifted toward "Hey, why don't they just give us Microsoft Points in exchange for our climbin...

Xbox Live profiles losing all their achievements? Yipes!

Mar 13
// Jim Sterling
[Update: Microsoft claims the issue is now resolved, but we've already had users switch on their systems and claiming it hasn't been. If you've been affected, log out and log in, while hoping for the best!] Reports around the...

XBLA achievement score limit increasing to 400 (Update)

Mar 12
// Jim Sterling
[Update: No longer a rumor, this news has been confirmed by Microsoft's Major Nelson.] According to everybody's favorite anonymous sources, Microsoft is about to update its policies regarding Xbox Live Arcade achievements.&nb...

Microsoft Flight is finally out today and it's free!

Feb 29
// Brett Zeidler
It seems like everything is jumping on the success free-to-play is bringing these days, and Microsoft's line of flight simulator titles is the next franchise to test the waters. Out today is Microsoft Flight and, as was promi...

Life's goal achieved! I am now an in-game achievement!

Feb 24
// Tony Ponce
Last month, I reviewed an auto-scrolling runner game for the iPhone called Curio. I wasn't too kind with my judgment, much to the disappointment of the title's main developer Rube Rubenstein. At the end of the day, though, th...

Daytona USA achievements leaked: There's a karaoke mode!

Oct 12
// Dale North
Remember when Sega teased us with a revival of one of their classic franchises? You knew it was Daytona USA, didn't you? The title has yet to be confirmed, but it's Daytona.  It seems that Achievements for the Xbox ...

Red Orchestra 2 gets all stats and achievements reset

Oct 07
// Joshua Derocher
Red Orchestra 2 had a rough launch. While it is a great game, there were some serious issues to deal with, including bugs. One of those issues was stats not being recorded correctly. Players would sometimes have random and lu...

Take a peek at Skyrim's Achievements

Oct 04
// Jordan Devore
Do people still get pumped when they see Trophy/Achievement lists ahead of time? That used to be the norm, though I suspect enthusiasm has died down considerably in recent years. If you don't mind quest-name spoilers, the Ach...

Fallout: New Vegas' new DLC achievements mention ED-E

Aug 09
// Josh Tolentino
Fallout: New Vegas' various downloadable adventures have ranged over a wide variety of settings, but they all share one thing in common: They're all solo experiences that, through one contrivance or another, force player...

Resident Evil HD downloads to get full Achievements

Jul 08
// Jim Sterling
Usually, downloadable games on Xbox Live can only offer 200 Gamer Points' worth of Achievements. The HD reissues of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica, however, will offer 1,000 Points each, boasting full-fledge...

Dragon Age II 'Legacy' DLC detailed by achievements

Jun 24
// Maurice Tan
New DLC for Dragon Age II is supposed to be announced during Comic Con, according to the game's Twitter account. However, the achievements for the upcoming Legacy DLC have already been listed on While...

Achievements in Minecraft may still happen

Feb 28
// Jordan Devore
Many of us love the choose-your-own-adventure style of Minecraft, because few games tend to offer exploration on such a grand scale. Of course, there are also people who have this desire to be told where to go and what to do;...

Academics tackle achievements, publish research

Feb 23
// Maurice Tan
The February 2011 special issue of Game Studies, the free web-published international journal of computer game research, focuses on the subject of game reward systems. Four articles in particular may be more interesting than ...

Would you rather collect in-game goods than real stuff?

Feb 02
// Jonathan Holmes
[Every so often, you may see some of these mini-features appear on the front page. They are just short editorial thoughts meant to start an interesting conversation in the comments and c-blogs. Enjoy! Now get to discussing...

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 achievements drop game details

Dec 22
// Nick Chester
The achievement hounds over at Xbox 360 Achievements have dug up a full list for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Given that Capcom has been slowly leaking out information on the game, it's not surprising that the list confirms a few game features, while simply hinting at others.

Catherine's leaked Achievements are utterly spoileriffic

Nov 30
// Josh Tolentino
I'm largely apathetic towards Xbox LIVE Achievements and PS3 Trophies, though I certainly don't mind earning a few for a little extra effort. Just a little (sorry, Dead Rising 2's "Zombie Genocider"). However, it's moments li...

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