Microsoft rewrites Gamerscore rules

Publisher gives the OK to add 250 achievement points through downloadable content, 50 points to arcade titles.

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Condemned: Criminal Origins
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Several Xbox 360 gamers have found themselves going to extraordinary lengths to unlock in-game achievements--goals created by developers that award Gamerscore points. Following rumors that Microsoft would be rewarding achievements with real-world prizes, the company's marketing team has confirmed new rules for achievement points on its Gamerscore blog.

The maximum number of achievement points a game can award has been raised to 1,250 from 1,000 for full retail releases. The extra 250 points can be included in downloadable content that becomes available on Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Live Arcade titles, which were previously capped at 200 points, can now add an extra 50 points through downloadable content.

Games can also now ship with less than 1,000 points, but must offer more points through free downloadable content that brings the total to 1,000. The cost of downloadable content that adds points beyond the original 1,000 is up to the discretion of the publisher.

Gamerscore blog points out the upcoming sandbox game from Realtime Worlds, Crackdown, as an example of this. The game will initially ship with a maximum of 900 achievement points, and will later offer free downloadable content to fill out the remaining 100 points.

The blog acknowledges that in the past there have been some inconsistencies with the 1,000-point rule (Condemned: Criminal Origins still only yields a maximum of 970 points), but says that going forward all games will adhere to the 1,000-point rule.

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