Microsoft did something special with the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. Every game came with 1,000 points to earn for completing specific tasks within the game, the oft-ridiculed Achievement Point system.
It would be hypocritical for me, personally, to state that Achievements have not played a role in the current generation of gaming with a Gamerscore over 85,000. When you learn about game sales increasing because a game has easy Achievements, things change.
Gearbox President Randy Pitchford believes easier scoring games can have between a 10,000 to 40,000 unit sales increase in the long run.
This doesn’t say much for the system itself, showing it likely has more to do with having deep pockets than gaming skills. Never mind the fact that many of these games could have easily been rented to obtain the same results instead of spending $60+.
It takes away a lot of the purpose of Achievements, showing that the score is a secondary function. The true test is how points were accumulated. Sure, having all of the points in Rumble Roses would be impressive (requiring 300+ hours of play), but that is more of a time issue, not a challenge. In fact, many achievements are just time-based now, given the current gaming style of infinite tries. Eventually, you’ll push through enemy lines and beat Call of Duty: World at War on its hardest difficulty. It just takes patience.
The only real test seems to lie on the Live Arcade. Beating Contra without continuing takes actual skill. Gaining the full set of 200 points in this case is far more impressive than Rumble Roses, or Avatar, the latter of which can be done in five minutes for a full 1,000.
So, the next time you see a high Gamerscore, don’t be impressed until you’ve actually looked at what games have been played. It should not be about the money.