All my PlayStation Network fans can take yet another step back and maybe bring themselves closer to admitting that Xbox Live is the superior online gaming network. This week, Microsoft brought to life a way to reward its Xbox Live users by simply using the service and spending tons of Microsoft Points. They call it the Xbox Live Rewards Program.
As soon as I received the email about it from Xbox, I immediately signed up, long before the news outlets got hold of the story. Why? Its perks far outweigh the two minutes it took to fill out the simple form.
What all does this new program give you? Follow the break to reward your brain with that knowledge.
You enjoy, we reward. That's Microsoft's way of saying, "Hey, I know you spent over $500 this year with us, how about we give you $20 back but make it sound pleasing." With Xbox Live Rewards, the usual things you do on the service now are feathered with MS Points. For instance, if you renew to a 12 Month Xbox Live Gold Membership and you are a Gold Member, you will receive 400 MS Points. Select Xbox Live Marketplace Content will have various rewards as will making your first purchase on Xbox LIVE. Also, whoever enrolls in the free program will also be eligible to participate in exclusive promotions that will feature undisclosed prizes.
Here's where it gets me, though. We here at the show have always joked that Microsoft is usually the superior company out there, doing things about 85% right. They always miss by a little bit. In the past, it was releasing the new Xbox 360 with the same black wireless controller (sans the two-tone). This time, it's with this program, which has been released after the console as well as the Kinect. The program, as of the time of this article, will not backdate, meaning if you already have Xbox Live and just renewed your service four weeks ago (right before the price hike), like I did, you're out of luck with the renewal reward. Same goes for activating your Netflix subscription on your console, which would net you 100 Microsoft Points if you haven't already done so. Bummer!
The other part where Microsoft really misses the mark and makes Gold members feel indifferent from Silver members is in the rewards themselves. Free members are eligible for some of the same rewards Gold members are. This, of course, does not include some of the features that only Gold members have access to, like Netflix, but still further blurs the line and makes you sometimes ponder why you are paying the $50+/year for their online service.
All in all, however, the rewards program is a cool idea that could use a little tweaking. If you want to see the full chart of the rewards you can get, click the source link below. I'd recommend everyone to sign up, as the program is completely free and can give you a couple of Points to spend in the Marketplace where you'd normally buy stuff from anyway for doing the things you already do.