Exclusive: New Xbox rule changes look to target easy Gamerscore titles

By Sean Carey,

Microsoft has made significant changes to Xbox achievement rules in what appears to be an attempt to stop extremely quick completions and easy Gamerscore titles from flooding the Xbox store.

As per our source, a developer in the ID@Xbox program that wishes to remain anonymous, Microsoft recently made several changes to its Xbox Game Certification Rules when it comes to achievements and Gamerscore. These rules govern what is allowed when publishing games on the Xbox platform, and according to our source, an update was made on Monday, May 1, 2023, to those rules that aims to stop developers from releasing easy Gamerscore titles that can be completed in just a few minutes or with minimal user input.

What changes have Microsoft made to the Xbox achievement rules?

The changes were made to Xbox Requirement, XR-055 Achievements and Gamerscore, and its test fail examples with the following line added to the XR's definition: "All achievements represent a thorough exploration of or engagement with game content."

However, more significantly, Microsoft has also added three new fail examples to XR-055:
  • All achievements can be unlocked within a few minutes of starting the game
  • Achievements do not represent a thorough exploration of or engagement with game content
  • Achievements can be unlocked without any (or minimal) user input unless required as part of the core gameplay loop
From our understanding, if a game meets one of these fail examples, the game will not pass certification, and Microsoft will block it from being published onto the Xbox platform.

Exclusive: New Xbox rule changes look to target easy Gamerscore titles

In recent months, we've seen numerous controversies surrounding Xbox achievements and easy Gamerscore. One big controversy was with Aabs Animals, a game that requires absolutely no user input to earn its full 1,000G. The third fail example listed above appears to be in response to the Aabs Animals situation and looks to be in place to stop similar games from making it onto the Xbox platform, though this is pure speculation on our part.

What will be interesting to see here is if Microsoft actually enforces these fail examples. Our source says that these updates to XR-055 were made on May 1, but we've already seen several games release after that date where their achievements "can be unlocked within a few minutes of starting the game."

We're not sure if these games had already made it through certification before the changes were put in place or after, but for further clarification, we've reached out to Microsoft for comment.

What do you make of these changes to the Xbox achievements rules? Let us know know your thoughts down in the comments.
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Avid Xbox and achievement fan, Sean has committed to playing the best RPGs, racing games, and first-person shooters Xbox Game Pass and his precious free time will allow. Prior to joining TrueAchievements, Sean gained a degree in journalism from Solent University.
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