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Microsoft Rewards are Being Nerfed

Over the last couple of weeks, Microsoft Rewards have been slowly being nerfed. Users are getting less points, which is making it harder to maintain the level of bonuses they were used to.


The scheme, which allowed those interested to utilise Bing and Game Pass to earn Xbox money or subscription time, as well as other rewards, has been made harder to use. That has included reducing points for things like earning a daily achievement and the removal of bonuses.

In the interest of balance, this service was a little bit mad. Power users were able to get Game Pass effectively for free, and then some Xbox money on top of that. Rewards was free money, and I guess Microsoft decided to put a stop to that.

But the result is a service that feels more chore than its worth. You can still get your Game Pass free if you want to, but it’ll feel harder than it did a week ago. Maybe that’s still worth it, maybe it’s not – I suppose it depends on the person, and on further nerfs.

I am not a power user by any means, and I’ve never systemically played the system. You get points for searching in Bing, and I’ve never bothered to go out of my way to do that. Others have lists of searches which maximise their points every day with only a couple of minutes of work.

But I have redeemed for Xbox credit when the opportunity has arisen, and I’ve done my best to get daily, weekly and monthly rewards. Usually just because it aligns more or less with what I’m doing anyway. And, like Game Pass itself, it sometimes leads me to new games, or deeper experiences with games I’ve already played.

Changing Rewards

In the last couple of weeks, the way rewards has changed may well alter that benefit. For instance, earning an achievement would net you 50 points each day. It’s now worth only five. That’s less than playing Jewel. Five points doesn’t seem worth the time and effort to load up a game to earn an achievement, and so now I won’t be going out of my way to do. That’ll mean less time spent within the Xbox ecosystem.

And when one of the ways Xbox is measuring success now is time played, that seems like something of a minor own goal. Yes, I can’t imagine there’s a sizable amount of people this will effect. But surely every little helps? I suppose they’ve done the maths and have found otherwise, but it feels off.

More importantly, the changes have brought with them glitches that mean some rewards aren’t popping. I’ve played games with friends on PC three times this week, and three times I haven’t had the points pop. That’s the equivalent of more than 10 percent of my Xbox credit reward.

Which, again, just disincentivises doing it in the first place.

In the grand scheme of things this might not matter. But for those who enjoyed the Rewards scheme (and the benefits that came with it), it has begun to feel like the end of an era.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott