When I first started TA many moons ago, I applied to Microsoft to become part of the Xbox Live Community Developer Program.
Those on the program are given access to xml feeds that return most of the gamer information that is visible on your GamerTag homepage of xbox.com.
I thought that having the license would allow me to ditch the scanners and gather all the information we use to generate your pages and the achievement ratios via the xml feeds. Not only is this more reliable, it's faster, and also better for Microsoft who don't lose the bandwidth that the scanners use while scraping xbox live (although this is quite small as they only grab html and not images or flash).
I received no response to my numerous enquiries, but eventually managed to get in contact with someone reasonably high up, who did some digging for me and discovered that the program was closed to new applicants.
I started a petition on TA which most of you have signed: Please sign here!
Last week I was contacted out of the blue and told that TrueAchievements was finally being granted the Developer License.What does this mean for TrueAchievements?
We now have access to some Microsoft xml feeds that help us determine whether your GamerScore has changed, and if so which games you have earned the extra achievements in.
Unfortunately there is no way of telling which achievements you have won through the feeds at this point, so we still have to scan your xbox live game pages for this information. But it means we are scanning xbox live a hell of a lot less (under a third of what we were in fact).
It also means we can scan more quickly - approximately 50% quicker during initial tests.
I am working with the guys at Microsoft to try to get some more information in their feeds so we can lose the scanners altogether, but I don't know how long that will take or whether it will happen at all.
So a massive thanks to everyone that signed the petition, if the TA commnunity wasn't as supportive of the site as it has been I don't think we would have got the license at all.
This is just the start of something really big for TrueAchievements, with the new teams on board and some new developments in the pipeline, 2010 is going to be a very special year!
Happy Christmas, and thanks again for your support!