Fragmented Systems of Record

Similar to my post the other day on too many social networks, I also have too many systems of record for gaming achievements. When I first encountered achievements seven years ago on XBox Live it seemed fantastic. Here was a way to track the cool things you’d managed in various video games, as well as a way to discover new hidden challenges in games that otherwise would have been returned to the shelf. However, as time goes on more and more companies want to harness this data and the attraction it provides, yet instead of doing so in a collaborative fashion it has instead been approached in the “me too! We can be exclusive, see!” way. The result is that I now have records of achievements not only on XBox Live but also on Steam, UPlay, PS3 trophies, World of Warcraft, and the iOS Game Center. None of these services share data with one another (why would they?) and so the system of record is fragmented across multiple different sources. This limits its usefulness in any one location as the engagement  I might get from my friends regarding challenges we could issue to one another or work on together have to be on the same system, by the same game publisher, and sometimes even in the same geographic region. That takes much of the momentum out of the experience. When will games publishers learn to think from the gamer’s perspective and spend a little more time and effort on collaboration rather than simply trying to monopolize every area they venture into?

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