Microsoft has increased the maximum allowable Gamerscore for Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games to 400 Gamerscore and 30 Achievements. Xbox gamers and indie developers worldwide are rejoicing while activists are protesting the environmental and human costs of the increase.
“The impetus for the increase comes from a major technological advancement,” says Richard Leckstein, vice-president of product relations at Microsoft. “This of course being the introduction of the Titan X4 Gamerscore processor embedded in each new Xbox 360 console.”
The Titan X4 is the result of years of research and development. The Xbox 360’s current Xenon CPU can barely handle the processing required to push 200 achievement points through the system, so Microsoft’s engineers have leveraged a new mineral called achievementium to create a fast CPU solely for computing Gamerscore.
“With a 400 Gamerscore limit, we can offer more achievements than ever before and solidify our position as the leader in Gamer cred.”
But mining achievementium comes with a cost.
Lisa Sampson, director of activist group GreenGroan, has reservations about the hazardous mining operations.
“Mining for achievementium in Central Africa has extreme adverse effects on the environment,” says Sampson. “Tons of waste is polluting lakes and rivers. They’re encroaching on the local wildlife’s natural habitat. And let’s not forget the dangerous working conditions for the miners.”
Miners working deep underground are subject to toxic vapors emitted from achievementium deposits. They can cause long-term health issues, and if left untreated, can result in mitigated desire to gain achievements.
“I just don’t see how all this suffering is worth some meaningless numbers being added to your avatar or whatever.”
Microsoft has declined comment on their questionable mining operations. Continued production of the Titan processor is in full swing and has no signs of slowing down.
Sven Samuelsson, an independent game developer in Sweden, believes he recognizes the true value of Gamerscore.
“I was at a children’s hospital a few months ago, showing the kids my latest Xbox Live Arcade Game Silhouette Sidescroller,” says a teary-eyed Samuelsson. “One boy who was terminally ill asked me, ‘This game is great, but why can’t we have more than 200 Gamerscore?’ I looked at him and said, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know.’ Thanks to this new technology, I can finally give the kids the Gamerscore they deserve.”