Microsoft changed the game with one simple 'fix' to Xbox Rewards

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Microsoft Rewards on Xbox I'm a big fan of Xbox Rewards (aka Microsoft Rewards). I love collecting free money for playing games, earning approximately $220 a year in Xbox currency to spend on games, DLC, movies, etc.

I also worked as a consultant in Xbox marketing (a few years back), so I have some insight into how these programs work (or don't, in some cases). This program has been sporadically broken for many years, and by going for the quick fix during its most recent breakdown, the team there has changed how the game is played.

But first and foremost, I'm a gamer who likes earning rewards. In the "before time," I would purchase a lot of small games for easy achievements, as these would grant me the "Achieve More. Earn More." quest in the Rewards app worth 50 points daily.

Achieve More. Earn More.That's only about 5 cents a day ($18 a year), but when added to the points earned through other means such as Bing searches and daily sets, I could easily save up the 91,000 points needed for $100 gift card, plus $10 per month in auto-redeemed points offered at a slightly better rate. (Now that Microsoft has cut back on its point offers and punch cards, it may take a lot longer to earn that much, but it's still a decent pay out.)

Alas, this daily achievement quest - known to fans as AMEM - was finicky at times, sometimes lagging and other times not unlocking at all. This frustrated gamers and put an extra load on the Rewards support team.

Microsoft, no doubt realizing their Game Pass quests are more reliable than whatever process tracks achievements for the Rewards app, switched it back in April to unlock for Game Pass achievements only.

Now this has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, I tended to avoid earning achievements in non-Game Pass titles that I really wanted to play, opting to save them for the next day's reward. I could grind on Forza Horizon 5, as I knew these achievements well, but many other games in my library lay dormant unless I knew an achievement was not likely to be accidentally tripped.

Today, I can play these games as much as I want. I also tended to avoid digging too deep into the Game Pass library, as I had plenty to play in my digital backlog. Now I try Game Pass games I might not have previously, and I'm playing some games (like Redfall) daily and more deeply with the intent of earning that next 50 points while enjoying it far more than I probably should.

Now one of the downsides (for Microsoft, at least) is that I'm spending less on non-Game Pass titles. Where before I might spend $10-50 a month on sale games and the occasional impulse buy, now it's much less. So this is actually a plus for me as well. I do have a deep library of games I had bought mainly for the achievements, and now I'll need to play these on their merits as games and not as ATMs designed to spit out 5-cent rewards.

Honestly, I've allowed Rewards to shape how I play games. Now that the boundaries are clearer for achievement-driven quests, I have more freedom outside of Game Pass titles, which I might not have played anyway. I do like exploring new games, so this isn't a negative either. Once I earn that daily achievement, I can switch to one of the hundreds of games I had been ignoring in my library and play those as much as I want.

Way to earn!

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This page contains a single entry by Gamewatcher published on July 10, 2023 1:02 PM.

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