According to Scoble: “achievement points are how Microsoft is gonna edge in on Google“. He is not the only one, GameDaily Biz says: “The concept of Achievement Points and a Gamerscore has become more popular than Microsoft ever imagined.”
I do believe this can give us an edge. Look at Airmiles and how many people are using their Amex card to collect points. I don’t believe those schemes can build brand loyalty but I do believe that it can help convince people to switch to our services. As stated by Scoble, if you would give points for every 100 Windows Live Search or for the amount of visitors to your Windows Live Space, you will have a powerfull tool to have people switch. Once they have switched we can only work on the product itself to make them loyal to the product / brand. This is not the same as for the Gamerscore of course, where you really have a brand building aspect.
Another key thing here is: “What can you do with the points?” At the moment (correct me if I’m wrong) you can use them for Xbox and Zune stuff, which is great of course. But I think Microsoft should look at this in a broader spectrum and include all consumer related products.
It’s quite funny that this posting comes up now. I was hired at Microsoft 6 months ago and had a telephone interview with the former Country Manager of Microsoft in Belgium: Bruno Segers. He knew I had a background in loyalty marketing programs and his first question was exactly this: “how can we leverage this existing points system to a broader Microsoft plan?” Good thinking I would say 😉