With their redesign of the Xbox Live Rewards program, Microsoft is placing precedence ever more on loyalty and devoted-player incentives. Mostly this is in the form of MyAchievements, the new, many would say meager initiative that awards players with an annual “birthday present” (retail value: 25 cents) and provides Xbox Live Marketplace discounts based upon Gamerscore (don’t look to save more than 2%).

Now, however, XBL Rewards looks to capitalize on America’s most anticipated political events short of Election Day itself: the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – and, in the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan – battle this October for your vote in November, Microsoft will bestow Xbox Live Reward members with a free Halo 4 Warrior” avatar outfit for watching any three out of the four debates through Xbox Live’s Election 2012 app. Each debate runs from 9 – 10:30 p.m, Eastern Time. Here are the scheduled dates and topics:

  • Wednesday, October 3 – Presidential Debate on Domestic Policy
  • Thursday, October 11 – Vice-Presidential Debate on Foreign and Domestic Issues
  • Tuesday, October 16 – Presidential Debate on Foreign and Domestic Issues
  • Monday, October 22 – Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy

Anyone who visits the Xbox Live dashboard between now and Election Day (November 6) shouldn’t have much trouble locating the political coverage hub; more often than not it’s a featured item in the first “Home” tab.

Xbox Live Election Halo 4 Avatar

Microsoft introduced the application this August, shortly before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, and partnered with NBC News, Rock the Vote, YouGov, and Face the Facts USA to integrate daily Election 2012 content. It’s all part of Xbox Live’s interactive TV push – similar to the ESPN app, players can vote for winner/favorite through a live polling system – and increased live event coverage, demonstrated last weekend by the airing of the iHeartRadio music festival.

Seeing that Xbox Live Rewards is still miles behind Sony’s PlayStation Plus program (perhaps a reason the latter nearly doubled subscription sales in the week after E3 2012), it is nice to seeĀ something supplementing the underwhelming MyAchievements. XBL Rewards currently offers Microsoft Points for activation-based activities – such as activating Netflix or renewing a Gold membership – but almost nothing encourages continued, long-term involvement with the Live brand.

Ranters, will you be tuning in to October’s presidential debates on Xbox Live – and be honest: does theĀ Halo 4 avatar outfit play a part? What other activities could Microsoft encourage through Xbox Live Rewards?

Also: if you haven’t registered to vote yet, most state deadlines are fast-approaching.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: Xbox.com [via Game Informer]