Meaningless "gametime extenders" are but mere sentences. Are these things really selling points to some people? Was GameA's gold trophy really harder and cooler to get than GameB's silver trophy? Do we really wanna show it off to the thousands other faceless people on the PSN?
Do we really need trophies as rewards for progressing through the game as we would've normally? If I was gonna beat the final boss, I'd do so cuz the game was great and gave me narrative or innovative motivation to do it, not because I want MOAR trophies. Same with sidequests. SotC and ICO were last gen games with this type of motivating quality (replay game if you're truly interested in reaching the secret garden), but I feel having trophies slapped on to the re-releases shows where many gamers' focus has been lost.
And if all gamers need for motivation is trophies, then developers will start to develop newer games with that in mind, and we'll see the decrease of games like Majora's Mask where sidequests were compelling because of narrative...and actual "rewards" like masks with powers, which then lead to getting the best reward of them all: fierce deity. We'll lose that and get useless sentences with bronze/silver/gold/plat trophy emblems because apparently that's enough.
I could easily say "just ignore them and enjoy the game as if they weren't there". That would be fine and dandy, except I worry about the content of future games. Remember what used to be unlockable stages and items in gaming? That sweet feeling of what you accomplished paved the way for more content and fun? Yea, that content is now trophies/achievements. Oh wait that content still exists though....in the form of paid DLC! (oh great)
I understand that gamerscores are akin to High Scores like in the arcade, but on a bigger internet scale. The problem is the accomplishments have gotten out of hand to the point where over half of them aren't really meaningful, many are designed stupidly/repetitious without fun in mind, and the whole system is so muddled that having a huge gamerscore just amounts to how much time you're willing to waste doing artificial game-extenders.
I played over 2000 hours of Super Smash Bros Melee over the past decade, and that was because the game was damn fun, gave me and my friends many good times, and also had me unlocking loads of content in the 1st few months. Melee's in-game trophies were the lesser rewards on that disc, and even those were 3D modeled nostalgic Nintendo objects/characters with some healthy descriptions that put a smile on my face.
But achievements/trophies are awards. Not "rewards". So game studios, give me rewards and stop congratulating me for finishing the tutorial levels of my games. And don't think playing 400 online matches makes me cool and skilled.