Microsoft Brings Achievements To Visual Studio

Microsoft Brings Achievements To Visual Studio


In its ongoing quest to incentivize every facet of human existence with largely meaningless numerical scores and shiny badges, Microsoft has added Xbox 360-style Achievements to Visual Studio.

For those of you who just enjoy videogames and don't give a toss where they come from, Visual Studio is an industry-standard integrated development environment. In layman's terms, it's the program that game makers use to make the games you know and love.

As with all things however, it lacked certain inherent motivational tools to keep users on task (aside from "you'll be fired if you don't keep coding"), thus Microsoft's new line of Achievements. For the most part, they function identically to their Xbox 360 counterparts, only instead of asking users to kill 10,000 enemies, the Visual Studio Achievements task coders with mundane program-specific goals such as writing "a class with public, private, protected and internal members" or coding on the weekend.

The full list of Achievements can be found on Microsoft's Channel 9 website, but before you all scamper over there, eager to artificially inflate yet another arbitrary score and thus add some semblance of meaning to your life, I've got more words to throw at you.

Alright, so I'm as big a fan of the Xbox Live Achievement system as anyone. I think it offers a nice, running storyline for a player's ongoing experience with the console. I also like that it's been adopted in various forms by other gaming companies. That said, applying Achievements to Visual Studio gives me an eerie feeling.

By applying this gamification-lite concept to the program that originally spawned the games that originally spawned the gamification-lite concept, Microsoft has created a giant, geeky Ouroboros, that won't be content until it devours 15,000 feet of its own tail and a happy notification appears heralding the 25 gamerscore points it just earned.

We're through the looking glass here people.


I'm gonna race my friends in my Game Programming course to see who will get all the 0 point achievements first.

You know, I'm actually taking an Advanced Visual Basic class this semester. Never thought I'd earn achievements for a class... you know, Microsoft may be on to something here.

Overall, this sounds pretty weird. However, the fact that there are several 0 point achievements for stuff you shouldn't do amuses me greatly.

I quite like the one for using 3 different swear words in one file. Seems easy enough, just write something like "shit fuck ass" and done!

It's a good idea, I say. Relatively-minor rewards for doing things should be awarded in every facet of life.

I think they deserve an achievement for this.

I find this concept somewhat worrying. But we shall see what the future will hold.

Brilliant. This will help keep wages down; why pay people to do their job properly when you can give them an "achievement" which costs nothing instead? Hooray for skinner box exploitation techniques!

[Achievement rewarded "Double the pleasure, double the fun" created an achievement in Visual Studio.]

What? What? WHAT? As someone who uses visual studio on a regular basis I can safely say this is probably the single stupidest thing I have heard all day. Why? Who thought this was a good idea? I can't just... ARGHHHH!!!

Seems weird.. As a developer who uses Visual Studio (sadly not 2010 because my company sucks) I don't see many practical uses for these achievements. It feels like it may be mimicking the biggest "problem" people have with achievements, in that they are not really integrated into the gameplay experience and instead encourage grinding for points.

They're definitely not for every programming scenario. If I had to deal with a solution with 50 projects in it I think I'd shoot myself..

*remembers extra credits episode about gamification*

Oh mah gud, tha future is here.

I think they deserve an award for this.

No. They deserve an achievement.

Thats so surreal. Thank God that I use GCC.

We don't need more Skinner boxes.

I wonder how much code that will be written for these will end up on the Daily WTF.

"Job Security: Write 20 single letter class level variables in one file."

I think I just died a little insiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

I wonder how much code that will be written for these will end up on the Daily WTF.

Many, many of them.

Wish they made this back when I was coding with a couple buddies 3 years ago, might have given us something to do. :)


That pretty much sums up my view of this story. It's like Microsoft saw those Achievement Unlocked "left the house" t-shirts and thought that it would be a good idea.

Earnest Cavalli:

I applaud Earnest Cavalli in his completely unbiased analysis on XBox achievements, which at the same time insinuates gaming as a whole has a "meaning".

I hate to break it to you, but GamerScore that some individuals have great interest in inflating has a much meaning as putting a disc in the drive and spending hours killing online - or any game for that matter.


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