What do you want to know
- Some developers release “achievement spam” games to the Xbox Store that only take a few minutes, with achievements that can be earned with little or no effort at all.
- Microsoft is cracking down on these games with new rules added to its Xbox game certification requirements.
- Going forward, new Xbox games must have achievements that take more than a few minutes and require adequate player engagement to win.
- Aabs Animals, a 2013 game recently released on Xbox in which players simply watch a cat and earn achievements for it, is an example of the type of game Microsoft is taking a stand against.
Xbox’s Achievements system is a great feature that encourages players to try and play new games, but recently there have been an increasing number of “Achievements spam” games on the Xbox Store that exploit it. . These games are designed to be completed extremely quickly, and their Gamerscore Achievements can be earned with little or no effort at all.
In an effort to stem the tide of these games and keep them from flooding the market, Microsoft has made a few additions to its certification requirements for new Xbox games. Specifically, these new rules have been added to requirement XR-055 Achievements and Gamerscore, which can be read on pages 2661-62 of Microsoft’s Game Development Kit documentation.
The changes begin with the following addition to the description of XR-055: “Unlocking achievements in the base game or a content update must represent in-depth exploration or engagement with game content.” Essentially, this means that players actually have to accomplish something to get an achievement.
On top of that, the company has also added three new failure examples – conditions that will prevent a game from being certified if met – to the XR-055 list. We have listed them below:
- All achievements can be unlocked within minutes of starting the game
- Achievements do not represent in-depth exploration or engagement with game content
- Achievements can be unlocked without any (or minimal) user interaction, unless required as part of the main game loop
These new rules should prevent developers from releasing games that are extremely short and require little effort, as they will not be certified if players can get all the achievements within minutes or can acquire them without too much input or commitment. Hopefully Microsoft enforces them effectively, because the last thing the Xbox Store needs is more Gamerscore farming shovelware.
A notorious example of a game like this is Aabs Animals, a recently released 2013 $10 game on Xbox where players just stare at a cat and get achievements for it. Responding to fan complaints, Chris Charla, Head of [email protected] said that Microsoft will “take a look” at the game at the end of February.