Xbox Live Rewards program launches

[UPDATE] Microsoft unveils invite-only program that lets XBL Gold subscribers get MS points for renewing subscriptions, taking surveys, buying items on XBL Marketplace.

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After weeks of rumors, Microsoft has officially taken the wraps off of its Club Nintendo-like rewards pilot program for Xbox Live users. Called the Xbox Live Rewards Squad, the program is invite-only, and participants began receiving invitations on November 2. It will continue through the end of April 2010.

Membership has its privileges. Not big privileges, but still…
Membership has its privileges. Not big privileges, but still…

As outlined on the program's official Xbox.com page, Xbox Live Rewards Squad will dole out rewards to both Silver- and Gold-level subscribers of the Xbox 360's online service. However, it will be heavily weighted to favor the latter, who will be rewarded with Microsoft points merely for renewing their subscriptions to the premium service.

Each one-month XBL Gold renewal will net participants 10 Microsoft points ($0.125 in US dollars) up to a maximum of MSP60 ($0.75). Each three-month renewal will garner MSP30 ($0.375) up to a maximum of MSP60 ($0.75), while a 12-month renewal will net MSP200 ($2.50). Xbox Live Silver members will get no reward for signing up to Live, which costs $49.99 per year.

Microsoft is also offering incentives to buy items on Xbox Live Marketplace. Both Gold and Silver subscribers will get MSP100 ($1.25) for their first XBLM purchase. Gold subscribers who continue to buy items get 1 percent of their purchases during the first month, 2 percent the second, 3 percent the third, 4 percent the fourth, and 5 percent for the fifth and sixth months of the pilot program.

Non-Netflix subscribers will also receive MSP200 ($2.50) for subscribing to the soon-to-be console-agnostic video streaming service through Xbox Live. According to the legal fine print, the subscription must be maintained for at least one month. Microsoft is also offering both Silver and Gold Xbox Live Rewards Squad participants MSP100 ($1.25) each time they answer a survey.

[UPDATE] One question Microsoft reps are not answering is how one is picked for the program or how one could sign up. In response to requests for clarification about the pilot program's selection process, Microsoft only offered the following statement:

"The Xbox Live Rewards Web site is part of a pilot program we're testing with a small group from our global Xbox Live community. We are always exploring new ways to provide the most value to our members, but have nothing to announce about a public program at this time."

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