Ever since the Xbox 360 introduced the concept of achievements to the gaming populace at large, it's also been having a more subtle effect on how we look at games.
Specifically, it implicitly encouraged us to look at packaged retail games as somehow being "superior" to download-only titles such as those found on Xbox Live Arcade or the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace. Retail games always offered 1,000 Gamerscore of achievements, with developers able to add up to an additional 250 Gamerscore per quarter in the first year after release for DLC; Xbox Live Arcade games originally offered just 200 Gamerscore, expandable by up to 50 points through DLC, but presently offer 400 base Gamerscore plus up to four extra blocks of 100 Gamerscore (one per quarter) for DLC. Xbox Live Indie Games, meanwhile, don't support Achievements and Gamerscore at all.
Although Gamerscore is a largely meaningless concept due to the fact that there's no standardized measure of what it means beyond how many games you've played, this disparity in "value" between retail and download-only games hasn't helped close the gap in perception between the two types of release, and certainly hasn't helped the visibility of Xbox Live Indie Games, which don't appear in players' achievement history at all. Although attitudes are changing significantly as we move into a new, more digital-centric generation of consoles, a cursory browse of any gaming forum or comments thread will reveal that there are still plenty of people out there who see sub-$60, download-only releases as somehow "inferior" to games that have a box and a disc, and this isn't a problem exclusive to Microsoft, either; there are still players out there who refuse to buy anything on PlayStation that doesn't offer a Platinum trophy.
Fortunately, it looks like the times are changing, and Microsoft in particular appears to have recognized the fact that there shouldn't be a perceived hierarchy of games: they're ditching the "tiers" of Gamerscore for Xbox One, with all games, regardless of whether or not you can purchase them in a brick-and-mortar store, offering a full 1,000 Gamerscore worth of achievements. That's not all, though; the divide between disc-based games, Games on Demand, Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Live Indie Games is gone, too -- everything is just collected under the single "Games" banner now.
Speaking with XBLAFans, a Microsoft representative confirmed the change by saying that "on Xbox One games are games -- all games follow the same policies for achievements and Gamerscore."
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