The Future of Xbox Achievements and PlayStation Trophies
Much of the talk about the next generation of consoles has focussed on their graphical capabilities, new entertainment features and innovative methods of control. One thing that has been lacking in these discussions though, is actually something that could be very important for sales. Surprisingly, I’m talking about achievements and trophies.
I am a complete achievement whore and think their use on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the form of trophies is a fantastic idea. In many cases, they increase the playability of a game by giving you something to aim for once the main campaign has been finished or after the multiplayer has become a little stale. They can also encourage you to tackle the game in a way that you never before considered. I know there are several people who hate them, viewing them as cheap gimmicks and a way of enticing players to buy crap games by tantalising them with easy points or trophies. Now isn’t the time to debate their merits and shortcomings though. What is important, whether you love or hate them, is how they are dealt with once the current generation of consoles are quietly forced into a retirement home where, despite many promises, they will never be visited again.
The first issue to discuss is what happens to your current gamerscore once the new consoles are released? Are you able to import your Gamercard or PSNID onto the 720 or PS4? For myself and countless other gamers many hours were spent, several of them rather shameful ones, building up our gamerscores. It would be devastating if all of this was completely in vain, and you had to start from zero once again.
There is light at the end of the tunnel however, and rumours of backwards compatibility makes the ability to import your existing gamercard and by extension your hard earned points seem likely. It makes sense for there to be an import option, if only so saved games can be carried across and played on the backwards compatible machines. Seeing as saved games are tied to individual profiles, we can reasonably assume that all aspects of your profile can also be transferred. On a side note, it would also be nice to be able to transfer over existing profiles in order to keep friends lists intact and also to hold onto our usernames. I’d hate to go through the hassle of trying to get the same gamertag again, only to find that its been stolen by some dastardly fiend.
What happens in the worst case scenario though? If we do have to leave our precious scores behind and begin again, should the system be changed? I don’t think so. Both Xbox achievements and PlayStation trophies are successful in their own right – and as they say, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. This may sound boring, but really what else can you do? Both systems are beautifully simple and adding anything more or trying to change them too much would likely ruin them. It would however be nice to be physically rewarded for your achievement hunting efforts with credit to spend on the online market places once you reach certain scores.
By not carrying scores over and creating a blank slate, something very interesting could happen. If you can’t transfer your old profile across, then everyone has to start again. No one is tied to a specific console anymore; you don’t have to buy a 720 if you have a 360 now, and the same goes for the PS3 and 4. Without the prospect of a transfer there’s nothing to lash you to a specific console and you could happily change teams with no consequences. What’s more, Nintendo could also throw in their version to even the playing field some more. Nintendo Medals? N Points? U Score? These are all rather rushed names, but with a decent label and good implementation, Nintendo could go far. Given the popularity of achievements and trophies among those who appreciate them, the idea of being able to acquire them on the Wii U may well persuade people to go for Nintendo’s console over the 720 or PS4. This may sound unlikely, but stranger things have happened. I can’t think of any right now, but they have definitely happened. Trust me.
I would really like to keep my gamerscore, but if the big bosses decree that I can’t then that’s fine too. It will certainly make things interesting when the next generation finally hits us. What do you think? Please let me know below.