November saw Microsoft’s annual Hackathon event, which brings together groups of developers, designers and innovators from across Microsoft to compete and invent new potential products and services within and beyond the Microsoft ecosystem. This year’s Hackathon winner was an app that lets you provide remote tech support to a loved one, given the all-too-famous frustration you can experience trying to help a less tech-savvy friend over the phone.
Microsoft’s Hackathon 2022 event
(opens in 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 thanks to trusted sources, and a few of the Xbox-oriented projects definitely caught my eye. One project included a “Windows Handheld Mode” shell for Windows 11, which converts the interface into something more suitable for gaming on a Steam Deck-sized handheld PC. Streaming service prototypes were also pitched, which would reward viewers with Microsoft Points for watching live streams on Xbox while integrating Twitch or Patreon. Another idea was an “Xbox Inventory” system, which allows you to collect and carry in-game cosmetic items between titles. My favorite project – and one that I think is much needed – is an extension of the existing Xbox Achievements system, something the designers called Xbox Achievements 3.0.
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While it’s unclear who was behind the project, a team of designers and developers at 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, rewarding players with PlayStation-like bronze, silver, and gold trophies for varying achievements by title and even system level. For example, in the video shared with us anonymously above, you can see a draft medal appear for playing 300 titles on Xbox Game Pass.
The presentation also showed how each number of medals would be displayed under your profile on Xbox.com and on consoles, giving players another way to showcase their achievements during various activities on Xbox Live (which has since been renamed Xbox Network). , although no one will). call it that).
In any case, this concept is tempting, despite the fact that it will most likely never lead to a real product. It’s reminiscent of some of the proposals for the canceled Xbox Careers system of yesteryear, as Microsoft recognized that gamers’ habits have changed. More and more players are sticking to a single service-oriented title for extended periods of time, rather than grazing across multiple titles. However, Xbox Game Pass’s unlimited library keeps Xbox achievements going. Vampire Survivors offers mountains of 5G gamerscore achievements that pop at the end of every run, representing a truly exemplary use of the aging system. However, many unscrupulous indie publishers have started releasing shovelware games designed entirely to award 1000 gamerscore for doing practically nothing – a practice Sony PlayStation reportedly intends to ban, no less.
According to our sources, Microsoft engineers suggested that their system could detect which games were completed per user in order to award medals retroactively. (Image credit: Windows Central)
Anyway, the mere fact that developers are looking at this internally at Microsoft, even as a hobbyist, suggests to me that the spotlight is increasingly on how little Xbox performance has evolved, while competitors like PlayStation and Steam have developed and improved the systems which Microsoft used to pioneer. After all, improving Xbox performance was one of the top concerns Xbox fans shared with me during the big feedback survey I conducted last year.
I hope we see something like these Xbox “medals” come out in a real product someday.