The Xbox One Will Give You Achievements For Watching TV

Senior Contributor
11.08.13 11 Comments

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The concept of “gamification” was a marketing buzzword for a while, and like all marketing buzzwords, it pretty much turned out to be a new coat of paint on the same old idea. But the stench, like that of bad paint, still lingers, and it turns up on the Xbox One in the form of TV “achievements.”

Microsoft buried it deep in a blog post about video streaming, but it’s pretty straightforward. Watch movies and TV shows, and they’ll give you achievements. As for why Microsoft is doing this, well, here’s a demo screen:

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If you read the text, you might notice that these are not-so-subtle incentives to, say, watch Amazon’s TV shows, which they refuse to promote, or to drop a hundred bucks on movies. Also, whoever decided an Austin Powers quote should be tied to an achievement desperately needs to be fired.

There’s a fair point to be made here, which is that achievements are just dumb little metagaming ego points designed to trigger a Pavlovian response in gamers. And it won’t add to your Gamerscore; this is a separate “score” that will be tracked, likely for marketing purposes.

Still, it seems a wee bit condescending, somehow, like showing up to an event and being handed a ribbon marked “Participant.” Yeah, we know we watch a lot of A-Team reruns, Microsoft. There’s no reason to rub it in.

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