The sound, familiar to us all, the beloved “ba-loop” of the Achievement Unlocked. I’m not the only one who never gets tired of the rush, who doesn’t tire of watching my Gamerscore grow. In an April 1st article on Gamasutra, Aaron Greenberg, director of product management at Xbox said that an approximate 2.5 Billion achievements have been unlocked, leading to an estimated 52 billion Gamerscore points.
I don’t necessarily think it’s a bragging right, or it makes one gamer any better than another. But I do love the gamerscore races, challenging my friends unlock specific achievements. And, as a friend and I have discussed, in prior console generations, we used to make up similar challenges. Particularly in Xbox Live Arcade titles, pacifist style achievements like those seen in Geometry Wars Evolved, or killing three pterodactyles in Joust – these were the kinds of things people have been coming up with for decades. It adds just another reason to keep playing a game, or to try a game you’ve never played. The addiction takes hold when you find yourself simulating 30 years of Madden 2006 for two hours on a Sunday afternoon.
Others are trying to emulate it, now, but I have not found myself as enthralled with my PS3’s Trophies… yet.
The friendly banter that generally goes on between the console giants went strangely awry this week. VideoGamer.com (currently under the microscope for a recent Resident Evil 5 article, where a proclaimed “expert” had no experience in the topic of discussion) has posted an article in which an Xbox UK rep dismisses claims Sony has made that they have topped 20 million members on the Playstation Network, while Xbox Live sits at 17 million. Xbox Live isn’t just tied to the Xbox 360, it goes back to November of 2002 when it launched on the 360. To my knowledge, the account database has never been purged, therefore all accounts from November of 2002 are all still there. And Sony is saying they’re already at the 20 million mark? Perhaps there is an error in their aggregator and it’s an honest mistake, but I agree with Microsoft’s Stephen McGill, it seems little suspicious.
While other sites point out the obvious, like 21 million PS3s sold should not translate to 20 million PSN accounts, or perhaps the fact that the PSN is free could lead to muliple registrations, I have a few other points to bring up. As was addressed on one other website: Xbox Silver is also free, and of the 17 million accounts, Silver members are “accounted for.” Yes, PSP owners may have multiple accounts on each console – one for each friend, several for various region to download items from the various stores, and in some cases, it was simply easier to say “nah, I don’t like that name any more” and switch to a new one. When the Xbox 360 had “Gamerscore” that you wanted to keep, it was cause for a lot of people to change their gamertags less often.
Still, 20 million members in only about 2 years? One reason the higher number could be the 50 million PSP’s that have been sold, now having access to the PSN. This has been overlooked by every article I have read on this topic thus far. It’s quite simple to imagine users flocking to the free service when provided to them wirelessly, anywhere they go.
I’m a little unsure, myself, as to how much I believe the numbers, and how much it is a marketing tactic… but I don’t find it quite as impossible as the majority of other bloggers I’ve read this week. What’s your take? Leave a comment or visit the WinBreak forum.
While sony continues to litter the pool of SKU’s for the Playstation 3, launching the 160GB model this week, I decided to look for a story online that didn’t make me roll my eyes. The closest thing I could find today was this column-sized article on Gamepro, where Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime talks about how unique that the currently non-existent Nintendo Wii “Community” could be. I still rolled my eyes, because Nintendo still seems a long way from matching up with the offerings of Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.
Wii Speak is a nice start, but Nintendo is a long way from actually giving me a true “community” feeling on the Wii. Other channels provide a level of interactivity, like that in the “Check Mii Out” channel, but until Nintendo provides me with an easy to manage friends list and easier multiplayer options, I’m afraid they’re a long way from the community that I really want to be a part of.
On October 28, 2008, “Scene It? Box Office Smash” will be released. The game that is supposed to involve heavy use of the “New Xbox Experience” and the Avatars has been dated. Does this mean the “NXE” will debut before then? Or will it come later, along with a title update for the game to add the enhanced feature? Only time will tell, but this has been the title people have been waiting for to confirm the arrival of the NXE!