Achievements Unlocked, And Set To Change

Welcome, come inside, take your shoes off, slip on your comfy indoor footwear of choice and settle yourself in for another adventure with the Lost Spark Podcast as special guest James Thomas (@BigSheep) joins Antony and Darren once again to discuss Pizza, Circus tricks, Cinema silence, oh and of course, the reason we are all here – Video Games.

This week the debate gets interesting when James brings the news of an expected shake up of Xbox Live Achievements to the table and asks, are achievements in need of a change, are we happy with them as they are or even protective of the current ‘cheevo’ status quo and if we had the chance to make a change what could be done to improve a system loved by gamers worldwide? Is there any achievement in changing achievements?

Mike Ybarra – Corporate Vice President – Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft – had this to say on the matter, (as reported by windowscentral.com), bringing the discussion out into the open:

“Those are all small things that we can do to the system and the team looks at them. They’re in our backlog of things that we want to get done, but there’s actually bigger, more bolder changes that we have in mind. Nothing that I can talk about now, but something that fundamentally changes the concept … we are working towards a bigger, more meaningful change about somebody’s gaming accomplishments in history, as a gamer on Xbox.

[We] can do a lot more to reflect and let people show their gaming history and their status. Whether it’s somebody who only plays multiplayer in Halo 5 at a professional level, maybe they only have 2,000 Gamerscore, you want to be able to celebrate that person. You want people to be in the know. This person doesn’t play a lot of games, but they’re world top ten at Halo 5. All the way to people [with over a million gamerscore]. It’s that range that we really need to look at and celebrate … we’re going to go big in the area of letting people show off and represent their gaming history and the type of gamer that they are, far more than we do with Gamerscore.”

Fair and interesting points made there. So are Gamers who don’t necessarily chase the cheevo’s but still game a heck of a lot missing out on a degree of kudos that they should be shown by means of a gamerscore or should it be left to gamers who want to prove their prowess to hunt for the achievements in order to sparkle among their gaming pals?

Achievements in games have become synonymous with gaming since Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service debuted back in the day and as strange and perhaps unnecessary as they may have felt at first, it wasn’t long until they found their footing with thousands of gamers seeking out rare achievements to show off their chops and even giving games that would not have been the wisest purchase a degree of value if you could run through and get that easy thousand gamersore.

From these humble beginnings the concept has grown and spread, with Sony implementing their own Trophy system on the PlayStation Network and even Apple using similar concepts in their Gamecentre in iOS. The seed was sown, it grew and the gaming public have loved it for years.

Whether giving gamers a reason to strive for a highscore, adding value due to luring a player back in for a re-play of a loved title, or even leading players to discover parts of games they would never have discovered if not for the cheevo hunt, the value of these little badges of honour cannot be disputed.

So, is it wise to change them? What could the extent of change be? Or should the powers that be just back off and don’t fix what isn’t broken?

What, given the opportunity, would you do to enhance theses beloved feathers in a gamers cap that have become ingrained in current day gaming?

To hear what the guys think, listen in to episode 102.

As the excitement builds for Forza Motorsport 7 fresh content is still coming for the Sparks favourite racing game, Forza Horizon 3.  Playground Games continue to add content to Forza Horizon 3 this month with the ‘Hoonigan Car Pack’, produced in partnership with motorsport/lifestyle company Hoonigan. The Forza Horizon 3 Hoonigan Car Pack will be available on 15th August.

The pack of seven, custom-built cars will be available as a standalone purchase, although if you pre-order Forza Motorsport 7 digitally (or already have, prior to this announcement) you’ll receive the car pack for use in Forza Horizon 3 for no additional cost.

You’ll also receive a Hoonigan Car Pack for Forza Motorsport 7 (the Forza Motorsport 7 Hoonigan Car Pack will be available to use on 29th September for Ultimate Edition owners via early access, and 3rd October for Deluxe and Standard Edition owners)

The cars in the “Hoonigan Car Pack” are:

Forza Horizon 3

  • 1965 Hoonigan Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR V2
  • 1979 Hoonigan Baldwin Motorsports “Loki” K5 Blazer
  • 1955 Hoonigan Chevrolet Bel Air
  • 1972 Hoonigan Chevrolet “Napalm Nova”
  • 1978 Hoonigan Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800
  • 1992 Hoonigan Mazda RX-7 Twerkstallion
  • 1991 Hoonigan Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche 911 Turbo.

Forza Motorsport 7

  • 1965 Hoonigan Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR V2
  • 1955 Hoonigan Chevrolet Bel Air
  • 1972 Hoonigan Chevrolet “Napalm Nova”
  • 1978 Hoonigan Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800
  • 1992 Hoonigan Mazda RX-7 Twerkstallion
  • 2003 Hoonigan Holden Commodore Ute
  • 1991 Hoonigan Rauh-Welt Begriff Porsche 911 Turbo

Following from the news of a price hike for PS Plus in the previous episode of Lost Spark Podcast, Sony has announced players can receive 15 months of PlayStation Plus when they purchase a 12 month membership from the PlayStation Store.

The current price for a 12 month PlayStation Plus membership is £39.99 (GBP). Sony’s offer means players will receive three extra months of free membership.

Sony told Eurogamer, at the time: “We are changing the pricing to reflect various market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.”

This offer means players can pay £39.99 for a 15 month membership, which will cost £69.98 from 31st August – a saving of £29.99.

This offer is open to all PlayStation Plus members in Europe and will be available until 10am on 29th August from the PlayStation Plus Store.

Will you be renewing your PS Plus subscription this year?  Listen into the podcast and find out if the guys will or if they have already jumped ship!

In the VR Desk this week the hot news is that The VOID is bringing Star Wars VR to two Disney theme parks. The VOID are already known for their Ghostbusters VR experience in New York and are now set to bring their unique, expansive brand of Hyper reality to eager visitors to Disney parks in the future.

If you want more information on some of the items in this weeks Podcast here are some handy links:

If you would like to give us a rating or a review on iTunes then we have this handy link for you, click here to jump to iTunes and rate, review or subscribe to the Lost Spark Podcast!

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James’ Fluffy Tales from The Tavern, SoT Podcast

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