Recent news for those part of the Xbox Live Rewards program has shown that Microsoft are now offering minuscule (but better than nothing) rewards to gamers who have reached particular milestones with their total gamerscore; however at a glance the offering is perhaps lost on the more seasoned gamers but is there more to this than meets the eye.
At present a discount of 2% on purchases is offered for those gamers who have amassed 25,o00 or more gamerscore – which to be honest isn’t that hard to obtain. It’s a token gesture and looks more like an enticement for those who are just starting their Xbox journeys, yet, reading between the lines and it’s obvious this could be a prelude to something more tangible for dedicated gamers in the future, more notably next gen.
It’s no secret that there is stiff competition when it comes to DLC packages for popular online games, where often Microsoft secures early access or even exclusive modes. Yet Sony does very well with its Playstation Plus subscription service where the service is resonating well with its subscribers. There is going to be a real battle when the next consoles from these two giants roll out, and so every enticement will be heavily promoted and possibly a day one integrated feature. Whilst the Xbox Live Rewards program is fairly muted it could become a prominent feature for next generation gaming where gamer loyalty could have far greater implications. Let’s give an example:
A gamer plays MW 4 on the new Xbox (or PS3) – earns X number of achievements and gamerscore. When MW 4 DLC rolls out, those achievement points could have an impact on the DLC pricing where loyalty to the franchise is rewarded with a discount. This is an area of exploration for both Microsoft and Sony, where both companies could offer such enticement in tandem with the game publisher – moreso with first party published games. Playstation Plus subscribers already benefit from distinct bonuses, and so, more dedicated rewards could be on the cards as an evolution.
With so much at stake for both companies next generation, they will need as many enticements as possible to win over the masses, and what a perfect way to accomplish this by offering bespoke discounts to subscribers. The question will obviously be asked as to how generous both companies could be considering both companies are out to make money. Yet as we’ve seen this generation, many companies are seeing impressive gains in revenue from the digital realm and discounts already being offered one way or another. As consumers we see giants in retail going head to head with all sorts of offers being presented on a regular basis, but what is perhaps common practice is a deliberate inflated initial price, to make the discount seem more generous.
Let’s just hope any offers remain sensible and something that is of genuine interest to gamers. 2% off Xbox Live purchases seems like lip service especially for the really dedicated, but when the stakes are higher, maybe Sony and Microsoft will play ball and be a bit more imaginative.