Wiping Achievements: A Mistake For The Industry

There has been an epic debate for years regarding Xbox 360’s Achievements and PS3’s Trophies. Do hardcore gamers give two squirts about their Gamerscore or trophy count? The answer isn’t as simple as it would seem.

For many gamers, achievements and trophies are a waste of time. They mostly require dubious amounts of attention on irrelevant pieces of the game. Collect 86 beaver belts because it was the year the game’s developer lost his virginity. Slap irrelevant character in the face during Act II. Or the ever popular: “watch the credits”. How does completing any of these mindless tasks make anyone an established gamer? The question is valid, but there’s more to achievements and trophies than a cheap score.

Sure, life is filled with easy women and sleazy men. That doesn’t mean give up on finding that special someone. The same could be said for the true accomplishments found in trophies and achievements. Reach a completion of 100% in any Rockstar game. Clearing a COD campaign on Veteran is another great feat. Champion Through the Fires and Flames on Expert in GHIII. Every kind of gamer has their landmark achievements for different games. Some pride themselves on accumulated scoring, others on completion.

Achievements and trophies have undoubtedly evolved the way gamers game, even garnering the prestige of being featured in Guinness Book category. It’s hard to imagine just ten years ago, there was no way to prove you did anything in a game unless you brought over your memory card. It’s even harder to imagine that achievements and trophies may not carry over into future systems.

With the next generation consoles approaching, losers and suckers like me are nervous. We have invested time bulking up achievements and trophies for systems which are nearing the end of their shelf life. It’s pretty clear that neither PS3 or 360 successors will include backwards compatibility, but dare they screw over hardcore gamers by eliminating Gamerscores and Trophy Collections?

Regardless of any reason to love or hate the two, they significantly increase profits in everything attached: retail games, XBLA games, and playable DLC. DLC is even marketed on XBLA with headlines like “Blah, blah blah, and 4 more achievements!” Who cares, right? Developers care. People will buy content because of those four achievements, and developers will keep doing it because they know people will buy it.

There’s almost a guarantee that next gen consoles will provide similar reasons for people to argue. Hopefully, Next Box and PS4 will provide profile imports that retain Gamerscores and Trophy Collections. At least for now there’s still some time to rub each other’s scores in our faces. Or if you’re more like James, just point and laugh at the gamers who played Avatar: The Last Airbender.

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