Microsoft-owned developer Rare revealed that they planned to begin rewarding players in-game Achievements with virtual goods in the future, according to an interview with gaming site vg247. The virtual goods will be clothing, accessories, and other customization items that players can use with their Xbox Live avatars. Previously, earning an Achievement in an Xbox 360 title only rewarded players with "gamerpoints," which were tallied up and displayed as part of an individual's Xbox Live profile.
“In time… games will be able to give away clothes and accessories just like Achievements,” said art head Lee Musgrave.
Rare has not yet disclosed which of its upcoming titles will include the new virtual goods rewards. However, it should be noted that Rare also developed the Avatar system for Microsoft as part of the New Xbox Experience. So, it is entirely possible that Rare intends to help other developers create virtual goods rewards they can give out as part of rewarding Achievements.
“We are currently working with multiple partners who have expressed interest in using Avatars,” added producer Stacey Law, which seems to back up that interpretation of Rare's statements.
Avatars became a part of Microsoft's Xbox Live service in late October 2008, as part of a revamp called the New Xbox Experience. Thus far, all clothing and customization options for Avatars have been offered free of charge. This has included the release of free "clothing packs" that make additional, often seasonally-themed sets of goods available.
Microsoft's Xbox Live service is a subscription service that lets 360 owners play multiplayer games online, chat, and download games. It is famous for inspiring fierce loyalty to the Microsoft brand among 360 users, and the race for higher gamerscore alone often inspired interest in games where getting the 1000 points available in each title was believed to be particularly easy. Still, gamerscore was only a small number on a fairly small profile card.
The Avatars added with the New Xbox Experience are very tall, detailed, and expressive– and required as a part of the new Xbox Live interface. Everyone sees your Avatar when you are online, and you are free to see (and judge!) other people's as well. If gamers were willing to play games simply for addition points to add to their profile, then it seems very likely that the promise of exclusive clothing options that announce your skill at a particular game to other Live users will inspire a similar frenzy.
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