What Are Game Achievements For?

Whether you love them, can’t stand them, or could care less, achievement systems within games are clearly here to stay. Personally, I’m a big fan of achievements, both to track my progress in a game  in general as well as in relation to other people  as well as to give an excuse to do goofy things that I might not otherwise think to try out. And, of course, they’re yet another form of the constant reward/reinforcement  system that most good video games have really nailed down (usually complete with visual effect and even music to further reinforce the reward).

But as one young woman profiled by Kotaku demonstrates, once you start adding achievements with assigned points to games, some people will start playing the achievements themselves as a sort of meta-game. The games themselves are simply something to grind through on the way to an achievement score. In the case of the Kotaku profile, Kristen has amassed an XBOX gamerscore of 165,000 and is grinding her way to 200,000, frequently playing games she could care less about except for the achievement points she can gain from them.

Quite a few people in the comments don’t see the point of playing the achievement system as a game, but that seems just as legitimate a way to approach video games as any other.

Video Games Sales > DVD/Blu-Ray Sales for 2008

GameSpot notes that for 2008 total sales of video game software was greater than the combined sales of DVD and Blu-Ray movies. Worldwide, game software sales totaled $32 billion, while DVD/Blu-Ray sales totaled $29 billion. These figures do exclude revenue generated from DVD/Blu-ray rentals.

Still, that’s a fairly impressive trend, and one that is only going to become more pronounced in the years ahead. According to GameSpot, NPD — who compiles these sales statistics — estimates that in 2009, video game sales will make up 57 percent of all home enteratinment sales.