Over the years, Achievements on Xbox consoles have become less about accomplishing various goals in games and more about racking up as many points as humanly possible. According to a recent interview with Xbox Platform Corporate VP Mike Ybarra, that will all be changing at some point down the road.
The Ybarra interview originated in a Windows Central podcast focused on Achievements, what they mean to modern games, and what they could mean to future gamers. As Ybarra puts it, Microsoft is eyeing ways to make Achievements a bit more telling about a player's gaming lifestyle and abilities and less about chasing down specific in-game feats in order to claim some points.
Ybarra stressed that these alterations would be in addition to existing Achievement practices rather than replacing them. I mean, a major part of the gaming ecosystem for some players has become chasing down Achievements on the Xbox and Trophies on the PlayStation, so Microsoft isn't looking to alienate those players in any way. In an age where I've literally seen comments on various message boards stating, "If there's no Achievements, then what's the point of playing it?" it's no surprise Microsoft has no desire to get rid of the whole "Headshot 300 mooks" rat race.
But these new ideas that Ybarra is teasing are certainly intriguing. I mean, Microsoft and Sony gather a lot of information pertaining to what and how folks are playing games. We imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to implement some additional measures to track even more info about the way folks are playing in order to "better represent" their achievements.
Ybarra makes the point that while someone may only have a Gamerscore of 2,000, they might also be one of the best Call of Duty, Street Fighter or Overwatch players in the world. Don't those folks deserve some sort of online recognition, too? A high Gamerscore usually means you've either got enough time on your hands to play a lot of games, or you're one of those folks who flies through games in order to grab as many Achievements as possible without taking a moment to actually experience what you're playing. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those scenarios, but what exactly makes that more of an "Achievement" than someone who dedicated 117 hours in one week to playing Tekken to prepare for an upcoming tournament? They may not have unlocked a single Achievement in all that time, but it looks like Microsoft wants to find a way to recognize their dedication all the same.
We'll be interested to see what types of new Achievement systems Ybarra and Microsoft have planned.