I’ve Always Wanted To Know:
What is an achievement?
If you have a Facebook profile, you may have seen posts from friends talking about an achievement they earned playing a game. If you play games yourself on your phone, computer or gaming system, you are probably receiving these achievements, too. What is an achievement, though? Are they worth anything? Why are they showing up in everything from Farmville on Facebook to the latest shoot-em-up on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game system.
The simplest way to explain achievements is that they are virtual merit badges for completing a certain task or groups of tasks in a game. These achievements tracked by the game client, and in some games can be compared with other players through the achievements screen. This is a popular feature because it lets players judge how well they are doing versus pre-set goals, and see how they are doing in comparison to others.
While achievements can not be traded or sold, some games reward players for completing the more difficult achievements with in-game prizes or rewards. You may have your name displayed as the first person to complete an achievement or you may receive some resources that will help you advance further in the game.
The reason these achievements have become popular in recent years is twofold: players like to complete them and companies love the free advertising they generate. When I won a game of Ruzzle (a popular Boggle like word search game) against my girlfriend, the application posted on my Facebook feed that I won. This generated not only a bit of pride for my word search skills, but a free Ad for Ruzzle to my friends. Game companies know that someone is far more likely to try a game if a friend is playing. These types of achievements improve the user’ss satisfaction with the game and boost sales.
P.S. The amount of Ruzzle games I’ve won in the above article may of been overstated. The author is not responsible for buying “You liar! You lose all the time to me!” make-up flowers.
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