March 12th 2012 12:00 pm PT

Xbox LIVE Arcade Gamerscore Policy Change

Starting next month (April 2012) all new Xbox LIVE Arcade games will have the option to increase from 200 to 400 Gamerscore points, with the addition of up to 30 Achievements. Even better, this Gamerscore increase will be required in all new Xbox LIVE Arcade games starting in June 2012.

Xbox 360, Xbox Live By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • Steven Paul


  • Steven Paul


  • Anonymous

    Can older titles update to reflect this?

    • Declan Kane

      This, hopefully this update is retrospective, doubt it though.

      • Karl Cramer

        I could see it being done if there’s a new add-on for a game.

      • Anonymous

        It would likely only be if a developer wanted to update and add achievements.

        • Foxhack

           It’d probably cost them a lot of money since the games have to be patched. :P

  • Anonymous

    Can older titles update to reflect this?

  • HTLoneWolf

    Who cares about achievements?

    • Carl Houghton

       No-one, no-one at all. Honestly.

  • HTLoneWolf

    Who cares about achievements?

  • Dylan Thomas Lass


  • Mike Lethbridge

    Here’s hoping Trials implements this.

  • Anonymous

    I hope this applies to Windows Phones games as well.

    • Chris

       I hope not. XBLA games should have a higher score than WP7 Games, I think this is the main point of the change.

      • Karl Cramer

        Agreed. Windows Phone should never been given 200. With their size, complexity, and price, 100 would’ve been a more reasonable amount. I’m saying this as a dedicated Windows Phone user.

        • Anonymous

          Personally I really enjoy getting tons of gamerscore from my windows phone games. However I’ve always believed that Xbox Live Arcade games should’ve been given the full 1000 gamerscore. lol i guess if I had it my way, there’d be a huge inflation of gamerscore on xbox live.

  • Cristof Redmayne


  • Crunchewy

    I don’t care so much about the gamerscore (not a gamerscore fiend), but I do like the idea of more fun achievements, particularly in Trials Evolution, so I also hope they implement it.

  • Brian Harrison

    They should work on allowing the removal of achievements so I can get rid of those FIFA ones someone got on my account.

  • Randy McKinney

    Way overdue. 

  • Chris


  • Joe

    Im betting we will see 1600-2000 ms point games as well

    • Tylerh1701

      I’m not.  MS is already realizing the 800msp is the sweet spot for XBLA games.  They tried 1600 point games already and they didn’t go anywhere.

      • Anonymous

        What games did they put out at 1600 MSP?

        • Bennijin Turbo

           Penny Arcade Episode 1 and Puzzle Quest Galactrix.

          To say they didn’t do well is an understatement.

          • Anonymous

            It didn’t help that Galactrix was a terrible PQ game.

        • Anonymous

          Also both Sam & Max Seasons

  • Karl Cramer

    Good idea. Since XBLA games have been getting more complex and expensive. It also helps separate them from Windows Phone games which somehow got the same 200 point ranking. (100 would’ve been more accurate.)

  • NBA Kirkland (Nick)

    I expect we’ll start to see that 1600 MSP ($20 USD) price point become common. At least we’ll game more Gamerscore for our money.

    • weirdphil

      When Arcade title cost as much as titles you can find in Games on Demand, I’ll be expecting 1000 gamerscore, no less.

  • Anonymous

    and the price of arcade games will go up.

  • James Blacquiere

     Mr Major Sir, is there any documentation or something which someone could use to determine if a game is an XBLA game or not? The obvious answer is that you get it from the ‘Games Marketplace’, but you can also get non-arcade games from there as well. One example I have is that XBLA games seem to always have a “Return to arcade” menu option (or something like that).

    • Lee Rayson

       it has an orange band on the cover art it is an arcade title, if it purple it a kinect title. there are just a odd few that don’t follow these rules such as dead rising arcade titles but i assume it is because it is to better your dead rising 2 game progress

  • Hugoku

    Why would the price of XBLA go up because of this? This is in response to actual XBLA getting more complex, not the other way around. The more complex (in terms of development) they are, the higher the price. That will happen regardless. It’s not like they are selling gamerpoints to us.

    • Tylerh1701


  • Anonymous

    I would really hate to see 1600 MSP become the new 1200 MSP, very few titles already justify the 1200 points mark and probably even less more than that…

    • Anonymous

      You mean very few are justified for you?

      • Anonymous

        Of course I am expressing my personal opinion but as seen in various gaming forums this opinion is adapted by quite a few people.

        • Michael Laiz

          Angry people are much more vocal about than anger than satisfied people are with their satisfaction.

          • Anonymous

             There is no anger, I just ignore those titles completely or wait for a DotW. I believe the developers would see better sales and income when starting with a lower price tag than targeting the higher available price on the Marketplace.

  • dibils

    why not 500, seems more logical 

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      Doubling is logistically easier, I expect.
      If they multiply the max by 2.5 instead of 2, that means developers need to factor and rebalance their new scores in strange ways. A 35 GS achievement becomes 87.5, instead of 70. Well is that really worth 90, or 85, or 80? That’s probably a 2 hour meeting in some studios. >_<;;

      Wait… you didn't think every single developer will put effort into BRAND NEW achievements did you? Nah. ;)

  • Karl Cramer

    It’s also going to be interesting to see how many achievement points are assigned to Windows 8 Xbox Live app games (the equivelant of Xbox 360 XBLA games). We already know from the Consumer Preview that Cut the Rope will be there.

  • Greg

    Great news =]

  • Anonymous

    Im assuming this wont be retroactive

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      If any of these policies were retroactive, I expect Condemned wouldn’t still be stuck at 970 GS. :/
      Man… just… what were they even thinking?

  • Eric Starr

    I miss the days of fun little distractions only costing 400 – 800 points.  Very few games are even worth the current 1200 points it seems.

    Oh wait, TOTALLY read that wrong. I thought I read the COST would go up 200-400 points. I like this gamerscore change. Pardon me, my mind is running on fumes at the moment.

  • Alice Lockhart

    NOOO! DX.

  • Anonymous

    Wow!  A lot of people mixing up Gamerscore and MSP…  =O

  • Bennijin Turbo

    How about games that haven’t released yet but the cheevos are locked down for already, like Skullgirls? Could they now be retroactively added via TU?

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      That probably depends on the cert window. If it gets approved now, 200 will be locked in, and only DLC will come under the new policy. If they can pull the game and resubmit (probably not cheaply) then that might push the new window into April. I guess the real question is, does Reverge/Konami care about customers who care about achievements?

    • mt

       At a guess, devs would have known of this info for a lot longer than us, so it probably has 400 point worth of achievements in it already.

  • The Twilit Archon

    Steam and PSN = Better

    • Anonymous

       If that is you opinion, then WHY on earth are you reading this blog?

      • Dixie Normous

        because he feels like it.

    • Anonymous

      Except on PSN while you can use (most of) your content freely on 2 consoles, you can ONLY use it on those 2 consoles.  Whereas on Live you get your primary console anyone can play the content on plus whichever console you are currently logged into.

      There are exceptions to this rule though as Singstar content ONLY works
      on the console you originally downloaded it on.  If your console breaks you have to call customer support and fight to get the license reset so you can download it on your new console.

      On Live however you can easily switch the primary licensed console, although its still a PITA to have to manually re-download each piece of content to update the license.  But at least the
      same rules apply to all digital content, so you can buy songs on Lips/Rock Band
      and use them on any console, as long as you are logged in.

      The ONLY real win for PSN is PSP/Vita minis where you can have them on 2 PS3s and 2 PSP/Vitas, and the few games where you buy one version (eg PS3) and get the other free (eg Vita).

      So apart from the latter, Live is far more flexible about letting you use your content when and where you want than PSN.

  • grump

    Wow. This is the cheapest trick I’ve seen in a while. Please sell your games with something other than gamerscore. 

  • Jason

    Great news… but how long before 400 G games become 1600 MS Points???

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      More arcade games will eventually hit 1600 whether or not this policy exists. Correlation is not causation.

  • Henry Shilling

    Give indie games gamerscore and achievements!

  • Shonk .

    You will need to fix the games section before i start buying arcade games again
    i have 298 Arcade Games and the kinect menu system makes it a joke to browse your games
    and i havnt picked up a single arcade game since its release
    a simple Y to change to list view that is remembered would fix it
    not everyone is interested in the joke of a kinect menu system

    • Anonymous

       So what you are saying is that you are lazy and can’t be bothered to scroll through pages.

      • Corey Marshall

        Not 1020 or more every time you want to launch a game.

      • Shonk .

        no im saying i have 298 games
        and it’s a complete chore on the new system
        to browse through my games to look for a game to play
        no one in theyr right mind would attempt to use it with kinect
        if they had more than a handful of games

        If they want to default to the kinect system thats just fine
        but its a trivial matter to add an option to press y to change to the old list view
        and remember the last view

        • Neil Fitch

           I also have 320 arcade games and would like a better way to browse them, also please lift the cap off of hard drive capacity, You already make money off of systems sold with hard drives, Let me hook up my own portable hard drive and use it please!

    • Aron Mayo

       there is still a list view in the guide – go to “quicklaunch” and then to “games” – it’s that easy.
       It is literally built for people like you who want to launch a game quickly with no fluff.

      • Shonk .

        Afraid the name is something that it isnt (Quickplay)
        with anything more than a few games

        Uploading it to youtube to show you now

      • Shonk .

         I did post a reply with a link to youtube of my Quickplay to show you
        but was watiting for moderator aproval all night
        and seems it was denied as its not showing anymore
        My acc is Shonkuk1 if you are bored and want to see

    • DMH

      Couldn’t you just Bing Search your game and launch?  Takes seconds

      • Shonk .

         bing search i fancy playing one of my games but have no idea which?

        i dont think it will bring me back any results

  • tabicat

    Thumbs down, Major.  This is just going to result in gamerscore inflation.  I can’t believe that, with all the complaints that your customers have about the new dashboard, you choose to implement a policy.  I’ve never heard of anyone complaining that Arcade games offer too little gamerscore or achievements.  NEVER.  Where did you get the idea that anyone wants this?

    • Chuck Jacobson

      XBLA games can be quite huge games now. Shadow Complex and Section 8 Prejudice are easily deserving of more achievements. With MS moving toward bigger games on Arcade this makes total sense. Major: how much can DLC add?

      • Daniel Brady

        agreed. they should offer some way to get more achievments (WITHOUT HAVING TO BUY THEM) for games. Add like “community achievements” picked or thought up by the people who actually played and bought the game. I know most people think they are stupid, (even me sometimes) BUT, they do give me reasons to go back and play old games with new challenges. whats wrong with that? nothing.

    • Baron

      I have heard quite a few complaints from developers even and I think it is unfair that the arcade games that are just as big as lots of retail titles are stuck with a measly 200 points there you have heard someone complain

  • ryder4life22187

    i’ve heard on various sites ppl complain there’s only 200 GS on arcade games who gives a sh*t. I don’t know about many ppl but i play games to play games not to play to hunt down worthless cheevo’s like 200 headshot kills who cares waste of a life if u ask me.

    • Chris

       you must give a sh*t if you are complaining about it. I don’t give a sh*t about Women’s Basketball, therefore, I don’t watch it, read articles about it or every post about it, with this exception.

  • Tim Johnson

    Instead of doing things like adding achievements to arcade games, why can’t Microsoft actually do something useful to the achievement system like enforcing developers to patch/fix glitched achievements and put a policy in place to prevent achievements from becoming unattainable due to server shutdowns (looking at you EA)

    • Daniel Brady

      Couldn’t agree more. They should also add the ability to remove all achievements from a game, so I dont have to look at the “FIFA 12″ achievements on my list, knowing I have never played FIFA, but the scumbag who stole my account a while back did.

    • Daniel Brady

      Couldn’t agree more. They should also add the ability to remove all achievements from a game, so I dont have to look at the “FIFA 12″ achievements on my list, knowing I have never played FIFA, but the scumbag who stole my account a while back did.

  • BWO Beguiled

    I think you should trade GSPoints for ms points

    • Chris

      Great idea, but too many ppl hack their gamerscore, so that is a reason they will never do that.

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      Man I remember the old days (2005) where people *actually* thought GS could be used for real rewards of some kind.

  • Tarpo

    How about MS letting me transfer my account, and Gamerscore to a Canadian live account?

    • Damien Bargiacchi

      Or mine to a US live account!

  • Daniel Dafoe

    This seems like a response to XBLA developers who aren’t seeing enough purchases of their games. What better way to entice people to buy them by offering the possibility of earning more useless points for completing tasks in a game? It’s a great move by Microsoft, but will only result in gamers rolling their eyes.

  • TheChrisD

    Don’t see why it needs such a huge jump from 200GS to 400GS. Maybe 250GS with 15 achievements is a good place to go to instead?

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      Seems too inconsequential to be worth the effort.

  • Wai Chi

    I heard that MS charges game companies a pretty high price for releasing title update. If MS doesn’t lower that price, I don’t think publishers/developers would want to add extra achievements to their old XBLA games.

  • Dan Nawrocki

    I wonder if existing arcade games will allowed to bump up to 400.  It would be a great way to renew interest in those titles.

    • Luke Es | sE ekuL

      Most likely old arcade games will be allowed to add DLC achievements at the new rate. (Reported by xbox360achievements as: 100 GS times 4 DLC. So for example, a 200 GS no-DLC game could now hit a max of 600 GS.)

  • John Doe

    Smells like these new arcade games will get pricey now. *sets back and wait*

  • WilliamRLBaker

    I hope to god prices on xbla dont increase if they do I will literally have lost any faith I ever had for microsoft.

  • Marc Czeczelich

    Nice Work! ;)

  • mt

    Major, your post doesn’t say whether the option for this chage will be made for games released prior to this policy update, either by patch or add-on. Can you clarify for us if games previously released on the service will be eligible for the updated Gamerscore, and if so, how will it be done?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Kairu

      “Starting next month (April 2012) all NEW Xbox LIVE Arcade games…”

  • Anonymous

    Hey Major here’s a thought, why not tell the powers that be that they should sort out the dashboard instead! you know speed it up, stop making it pain to navigate, TAKE AWAY THE ADVERTS!

    Oh no instead lets add more Cheevos that don’t mean anything and are absolutely worthless, the only people interested in this asinine past time are the obsessive compulsive!

    Maybe I’m being cynical here but I sense this new move is just a backhanded attempt to be able hike the prices of XBLA games real soon.

    1600 and 2400 coming up people!


      this isn’t about the “cheevos” its about letting game developers do more with their games and being able to release more dlc (hopefully for less then 40k a patch) so we get more from our games. 


    I can’t believe I’m reading so many negative comments o_0 I buy a lot of xbla games and most of them are mp. this will keep people playing for soo much longer and bring in many more players over the games lifetime. most mp xbla games are dead and end up being deleted because its just taking up space on my hdd, its this fact thats slowly putting me off buying msp. in all the years I’ve been on xbl the past year I’ve spent less then I ever have on msp because what is the point of spending XX on a game that will have all support killed of in the first few months (mnc). it is a short term solution to a long term problem but its a start. more dev support + happy gamers = raining $$$

  • Boe2

    The response here is amazing. Achievement points aren’t THAT important. I don’t really care if a game has 200 or 400 points, and I have a LOT of xbla games.
    The disaster called “metro dashboard”? Entirely different issue. Not really relevant here.