Spending six days of your life playing Halo 4's multiplayer could net you a whopping 600 MS points.
How much gaming do you do? Be honest. What percentage of your waking life have you spent gawping at a flashing box; your thumbs dancing across various d-pads as your skeleton fuses together until you resemble the giant extraterrestrial pilot discovered in the opening scenes of Alien? Since you're reading this on The Escapist, I'm guessing your answer is "a lot," but even the most dedicated gamers might balk at the challenge Microsoft has set budding Halo 4 players.
Here's the skinny: If you play 35 hours of Halo 4 multiplayer by November 30th, you'll net yourself a smooth 100 Microsoft points. 70 hours gets you 300 points and 140 hours will earn you 600 points.
Halo 4 was released yesterday (November 6th). Assuming you picked up your copy at midnight, and ignoring the fact the game's servers went down on day one, that gives you 24 days to rack up the required 140 hours of playtime. That means you need to be teabagging your fellow players for roughly six hours a day, every day, for the next three weeks. That's going to be harsh on the old beanbag, armored or not.
While heavy gaming sessions are nothing new, that's 42 hours of gaming a week. According to NPD figures, the average Core gamer usually spends around 18 hours a week gaming. What's worse, Microsoft is pushing for gamers to get through their 140 hours as quickly as possible; The company is only giving out a total of 10,000,000 points on a first-come, first-served basis.
"So hurry and get your share!" reads the promotion announcement
Spending 1500 or 3000 MSP on Halo-themed downloadable content - including Avatar items, themes and other knickknacks - will net you 100 or 200 MSP respectively, which counts against the 10,000,000 total.
Thus far, the Xbox Live Rewards program has been harmless, if unimpressive, but encouraging gamers to risk their health in a competition to win the equivalent of three quarters of a copy of Double Dragon Neon strikes me as rather bad taste. By most accounts, Halo 4 is a brilliant installment in one of gaming's most successful franchises, it really doesn't need this kind of nonsense to make it sell or to fluff out its multiplayer figures.