With the 2012 Presidential Election officially in the books, Red vs. Blue can finally return to its less divisive connotation: Halo multiplayer. Tuesday’s highly anticipated and acclaimed release of Halo 4 (be sure to read our review) has fans flooding the game’s new Infinity multiplayer component across Spartan Ops and War Games.
And sure enough, the Xbox Live Rewards program is taking advantage.
Announced today by Microsoft, between now and November 30, any Xbox Live Rewards member is eligible to receive Microsoft Points as recompense for their time spent in Halo 4 multiplayer. Addiction seems to be the only requirement: 35 hours will earn players 100 Microsoft Points ($1.25); 70 hours will earn 300 points ($3.75); and 140 hours – nearly six full days throughout the month’s remaining 23 – will earn 600 points ($7.50). Additionally, spending 1500 and 3000 points over the Xbox Live Marketplace on Halo content will award a rebate of 100 and 200 points, respectively. 800 points is the maximum total reward a player can receive throughout the life of the entire offer.
Clearly (or at least we hope) this won’t be a moneymaking endeavor for most gamers, but rather a fun bonus to support any inevitable Halo 4 bender plans. It’s a small step in the right direction for the Xbox Live Rewards Program, which has a well-established reputation for its paucity of actual, you know, rewards. And at any rate actually playing Halo 4 for prizes beats awkwardly loitering at your local 7-Eleven.
Fortunately for those who enjoy cash incentives infused into their video-game experiences, the potential to play for real money, won through hard-fought competition and the laborious development of gameplay skills, seems to be growing by the day. In this case, the DayZ.
Detailed today by PC Gamer, an independent group of developers has taken the wildly successful ArmA II mod and initiated a project called ”DayZ Bounty.” Founded by Jake Stewart, James Ortiz, and Andrew Defee after a “rouge” clan session of merciless killing and wagering on each other’s lives, DayZ Bounty is a monetary program (which, ideally, be integrated though DayZ’s eventual mod support) that awards cash for killing zombies and the other human inhabitants of post-apocalyptic Chernarus.
The project has yet to reach its alpha stage, according to Ortiz, but the team has already developed a basic rule set. Players will purchase “packages” of lives and standard equipment – right now there are four set at $5, $10, $15, and $20 – and enter into the DayZ Bounty servers where they’ll encounter zombies, survivors, bandits, and an outlaw – the bandit with the most kills. Money is won (and wired through PayPal) by killing, well, anyone else in the world, with the prize value varying by class. Below are the mock values used so far during DayZ Bounty’s testing phase:
- Zombies: $0.10 per 10 killed
- Survivors: $0.05
- Bandits: $0.25
- The Outlaw: $5.00, with value on their head increasing $0.25 per hour of in-game time
Not surprisingly, DayZ Bounty is still trying to sort through a myriad of issues relating to legality – mainly, whether or not it constitutes gambling, whether not charging players gels with ArmA II’s terms of service, and whether or not developer Bohemia Interactive would approve the component regardless (so far, they haven’t expressed an opinion). Should it ever come to fruition, though, it might just attract a brand new, wallet-wielding audience to DayZ – a mod that, itself, plans to release as a standalone game some time in 2012.
[Update: Bohemia Interactive and the original creators of the DayZ mod, who are developing the official version of the game are none to happy about the real cash server, stating that it undermines the original vision by DayZ creator Dean Hall.]
“While we fully support modifications created by the community. to improve the gaming experience for players of DayZ and ArmA II, we do not support their creators putting a cost on them. As commercially exploiting their small additions to DayZ undermines the work done by the original team.”
“We believe that the elements of gambling that DayZ Bounty introduces challenges the basic game design aspects that DayZ is built upon. It changes the focus of DayZ from being a creative, enjoyable, gritty gaming experience to a game that is based almost solely on financial gain and that is not something we want to be associated with.”
“We will be contacting the owners of the DayZ Bounty website directly over the coming days, to ask that they cease their activities in their current form.”
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.