Microsoft Exploring “Digital Item” Achievement Rewards

By Spencer . August 6, 2009 . 2:46pm


Are you an achievement junkie? Microsoft may be taking the system a step further by rewarding players with digital items.


A new patent application filed in the USA details a system which awards players virtual items if they can complete developer set challenges. To date recognition for achievements in Xbox 360 titles has been limited to gamer profiles and are “not transferable to another experience.” This excerpt from the patent explains what digital reward items might do.


The digital item may, for example, unlock a level in another game or provide access to certain advanced or desirable equipment, weapons, or the like. In another embodiment, the digital item may be an article of clothing (e.g., a football jersey for Madden NFL, a basketball jersey for NBA Live, armor, a helmet, etc.). In order to enhance the display of the digital item, an avatar and/or digital closet may be provided within the user identification which is able to wear the digital item.


Microsoft is pushing avatars which makes the digital item rewards program, at least when it comes to avatar wear, seem feasible. The summer update doesn’t mention this feature so you won’t see this program roll out in August.


What do you think about unlocking levels and bonus gear by completing achievements? Would it turn you into an achievement hunter?

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  • Ereek

    Ugh. No thank you. Remember when just playing a game was the reward itself?

  • thaKingRocka

    i’d much rather that than pay money.

  • Beats paying, that’s for sure. Also, getting some Virtual-ON gear to show how crazy you are wouldn’t be bad :3

  • “The digital item may, for example, unlock a level in another game or provide access to certain advanced or desirable equipment, weapons, or the like.”

    I’m confused by what this means. Do I have to play some game I don’t care about to unlock something in a game I like?

    • Perhaps, it depends if you don’t like the other game! Bionic Commando Rearmed had a similar system for Bionic Commando. Since this is a patent Microsoft is covering all of the bases. Whether they use this system or not is another question.

  • Aoshi00

    I’m stingy when it comes to buying digital accessories, themes, or gamer pics. So are they saying achievement would tie in rewards one can use to dress up their avatars? I actually quite enjoy changing outfits on my Xbox avatar (as long as it’s free), but not the creepy PS3 Home character, it looks awful and I can’t ever make it look like myself.

  • Hraesvelgr

    I don’t mind achievements, as long as they aren’t pointless freebies that don’t really make you feel like you’ve “achieved” anything, but I still refuse to make an avatar, no matter how much they try to get me to do so.

  • Chow

    This is how how Playstation Home items should be unlocked, too. It’d be a good incentive to go out and buy the games, which would be good for sales for either company. It’s not mandatory, either, so people who don’t use these avatar systems don’t have to care about it.

    Capcom was particularly good with such a rewards system, with the PS3 versions for Resident Evil 5 and Street Fighter IV. (dunno if the XBox 360 versions did anything special).

  • Advent_Andaryu

    I think unlocking Avatar clothes would be pointless. Now, if you could somehow get Microsoft points for unlocking Achievements… That would be awesome.

    It’s exactly why the PS3 doesn’t have a gamer score. It’s pointless. What, is the number supposed to make you a better gamer? The achievement/trophies themselves is what’s interesting. Just my opinion. I have a friend that says achievement/trophies extend the replay value of games but I really don’t agree.

    • Aoshi00

      I think gamerscore/achievement is fun all around. PS3 tries to copy that midway w/ trophies but felt kind of half ass. Also a number score is simply more intuitive and serves as a quick reference for players’ skill levels or gaming taste (hence gaming community), like if I see a friend who has 1000 for BlazeBlue, I would be “dang, he must be good and loves 2-D fighters”. Or like if you see Ebert’s 4/4 for a movie, you got to say “it can’t be bad” if your movie taste are similar that is, so what if it’s artificial (what isn’t), it’s a good indicator that serves multiple purposes.

      For the competitive it gives people a chance to one-up each other (like I got to get that A score for stage X in Ikaruga). Also it’s quick indicator for measuring one’s gaming progress. Like I’ve got tons of backlogs and don’t feel looking at my drawers, if I check my tag and gamescores and see I only have 5/1000 for a game, I’d be like “I should play that game that I’ve neglected or forgot about”.

      For replay value, yeah, sometimes I would try to see if I can beat a boss in under a minute, etc. These are just extra stuffs other than finishing a game. If players get rewarded by something cool, why the heck not, like winning a plush from a carnival booth, you don’t need to like teddy bears.

      • I have to completely agree with Aoshi00 here. I don’t think people really need to complain about gamerscores. I could also care less if they had points or not but I do enjoy the achievements/trophies. If it’s a game I like, I treat them as mini challenges and try to get them all. I even get lazy and ditch the achieve/trophys at times and you know what? It doesn’t hurt anyone. You can unlock art/etc in games or even for Megaman 9 they had a laundry list of challeges that aren’t even “achievements” and show NOwhere on your profiles, but I’d be damned if I don’t want to beat everyone of them. Maybe it’s a personal thing. Also, on a level Aoshi00 mentioned, you can challenge friends in similar things or get an idea what people play.

        Let’s be honest, not every person you add to a friendlist in your online career is going to be a close friend so it helps to see what they’re into. I think it even helps spark conversation. Also for the less fortunate in a certain game or “noob”/new player; if you see that a friend has lots of points or certain achieve/trophs in a game you can ask them how to get out of a tough spot or how they beat it. Social interactivity without turning to your PC and wading through a sea of sloppy Gamefaq posts. Heck, some of these achievements even force the point/trophy fanatics to push themselves in a game and get some extra play out of it or do something that most of us would want to do with or without the achievement possibly opening their eyes to something more fun in a game. It’s all in good fun so long as you ignore the people with the huge “e-peen” ego. ^_^ The ONLY thing I don’t like about achievements is I feel they don’t show ENOUGH of what I play to people as I only get some games on the 360 but so many others on different systems. I’d like to share all of my games in a “playlist” of sorts with people.

  • pglgeoff

    It is in the August update. I have seen it talked about as far back as three weeks ago. The first game to implement them is ‘Splosion Man, but you won’t actually be able to receive the award until after the update, even if you already own the game. This is the first mention I have seen of the patent, but news of the feature has been in the wild for a few.

    For those of you in the update preview, if you press your guide button and flip one blade to the left, you will see Awards just underneath the Achievements selection.

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