November saw the annual Microsoft Hackathon event, where groups of developers, designers and innovators from across Microsoft came together to compete and invent potential new products and services within and around the Microsoft ecosystem. This year’s Hackathon winner was an app that helps you provide remote tech support to a loved one, considering the all-too-familiar frustration one can feel trying to help a less tech-savvy friend. by telephone.
Microsoft Hackathon 2022 Event (opens in a new tab) saw more than 10,000 inventions compete for the grand prize, with more than 68,000 employees around the world taking part in what Microsoft describes as the “world’s largest private hackathon”.
I recently had the opportunity to check out some of the hackathon projects for myself through trusted sources, and a few Xbox-oriented projects certainly caught my eye. One project included a “Windows Handheld Mode” shell for Windows 11, which converts the interface to something more suitable for gaming on a Steam Deck-sized laptop PC. Prototype streaming services were also shown that would reward viewers with Microsoft points for watching live streams on Xbox while integrating Twitch or Patreon. Another idea included an “Xbox inventory” system, which would allow you to collect and transport in-game cosmetic items between titles. My favorite project – and one that I think is badly needed – is an expansion of the existing Xbox Achievements system, something the designers have dubbed Xbox Achievements 3.0.
While it’s unclear who was behind the project, a team of designers and developers from Microsoft joined forces at this year’s Hackathon event to create a proof of concept for a so-called “Xbox Achievements 3.0”. This system would sit alongside the existing Gamerscore system, awarding players PlayStation-like bronze, silver, and gold trophies for various achievements by title and even system-level. For example, in the video shared with us anonymously above, you can see a concept medal appear for playing 300 titles on Xbox Game Pass.
The presentation also showed how each medal count would be displayed under your profile on Xbox.com and consoles, giving players another way to showcase their achievements through various activities on Xbox Live (which has since been renamed Xbox Network, although no one is going to call it that).
In any case, this concept is enticing, despite the fact that it will probably never materialize into an actual product. It’s reminiscent of some of the canceled Xbox Careers system proposals of yesteryear, as Microsoft has recognized the fact that gamer habits have changed. More and more gamers are sticking with a single service-focused title for longer periods of time, rather than going through multiple titles. Xbox Game Pass’s all-you-can-eat library keeps Xbox Achievements afloat, though. Vampire Survivors offers mountains of 5G gamerscore achievements that appear at the end of each run, which is a truly exemplary use of the aging system. However, many unscrupulous indie publishers have started releasing shovelware games that are entirely designed to award 1000 gamerscore for doing next to nothing – a practice that Sony PlayStation reportedly intends to ban, no less.
In any case, the very fact that developers are looking at this internally at Microsoft, even as a hobbyist, suggests to me that there’s more and more spotlight on how few Xbox accomplishments have evolved, while that competitors like PlayStation and Steam have developed and improved the systems launched by Microsoft. at the time. Improved Xbox achievements were one of the top concerns Xbox fans told me during the big feedback survey I conducted last year, after all.
For my part, I hope that we will see something like these Xbox “medals” materialize into a real product, one day.
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