Bear with me on this one, I’m a bit disgusted by it. This is a rumour, published through our friends at StickTwiddlers, so take it with the pinch of salt you should reserve for all rumours. If true, though, it is a pretty gross development in Microsoft’s joyful skip down the pathway of shovelling as much marketing into your stupid pudgy little faces as they possibly can.
According to the rumour, Microsoft is soon to partner with the UK’s biggest specialist retailer of videogames. Game has emerged from their recent troubles with a newfound vigour for competitive pricing – some of their pre-Christmas sales were very good. Unfortunately, they also seem to have spent the party season drinking too much eggnog and talking to the people who are responsible for the Xbox 360’s dashboard and achievements systems.
The snuggling up of the two companies will include a bigger presence for Game on the dashboard, presumably in some of the myriad advertising slots that now populate that system’s front-end. That’s fine. Well it’s not fine, it’s really horrible, but we’re all pretty much used to it by now. What’s really a little bit icky about this rumoured deal is what it might mean for the Achievements system.
Game is keen to get as many of us as possible along to its midnight launches of big games. Microsoft understands the lure of an un-earned achievement badge to many of its most committed fans. Both companies might be about to exploit that lure to encourage people along to Game’s midnight retail events where they can leverage the urge for collection that’s so prevalent among their core customer base to coerce a nice early, full RRP, sale of a game. Gamers, or “humans” to give them another label, will soon be encouraged to earn a special (not included in the usual 1000 Gamerscore) Achievement for loading up a game they’ve bought at a midnight launch. I’ve just done a minisick.
We should stress that this might not be true, y’know, if there’s any sanity left in the world.