When Microsoft first launched the Xbox 360 in 2005, it introduced Achievements into first and third-party Xbox games and the Gamerscore for players who unlock them. Since then, being able to reach lots of achievements in Xbox games (and later in Windows games) to boost a player's Gamerscore has been something that many players have become obsessed over.
Unfortunately, there are also game developers who try to prey on those Xbox players who want to keep increasing their Gamerscore. They make "games" for the indie based ID@Xbox program that are created just to make Xbox achievements easy to unlock, and thus make it simple to boost a player's Gamerscore.
Now it looks like Microsoft is cracking down on those kinds of Gamerscore booster games, and the developers who make them, with a new set of Xbox certification updates. According to TrueAchievements, using an unnamed source at Microsoft's Xbox division, the XR-055 Achievements and Gamerscore section of the Xbox Game Certification Rules has added three new ways a game can fail to get certified for publication:
- All achievements can be unlocked within a few minutes of starting the game
- Achievements do not represent a thorough exploration of or engagement with game content
- Achievements can be unlocked without any (or minimal) user input unless required as part of the core gameplay loop
According to the article, the new certification updates were put in place on May 1. However, TrueAchievments notes that since the update, it has noticed several Xbox games that were published that would seem to be labeled under the "All achievements can be unlocked within a few minutes of starting the game" category that would normally keep a game from being certified.
It's possible those games passed Microsoft's Xbox certification rules before the new update, but were released afterward. If so, this would likely be just a temporary loophole around the new Achievement requirements. In any case, we'll follow this story to see if Microsoft will actually enforce these new Xbox Achievement regulations.