Microsoft were ahead of the game in many respects when they entered into the last generation of gaming with the Xbox 360. Among features like cross-game chat and other online features, one of the most successful ideas that Microsoft innovated was the system of ‘Achievements’. The system was instantly popular and so successful that Sony copied the idea off Microsoft and created it’s own Trophy System. Unfortunately, unlike the Xbox 360, which had the Achievements system in place on the console from day one, Sony’s tacked on approach meant that the system left a lot to be desired when it came to stability and response times. However, with Sony now entering the new generation and with Trophies being integrated from day one on the PlayStation 4, it seems Sony have swept the rug under Microsoft and beaten them at their own game.

xbox achievementsWhilst the premise of both systems is essentially the same, one is more effective than the other in terms of relaying a sense of achievement. Ironically, that system is the PlayStation’s Trophy system. You see, the Achievement system on the Xbox 360 and Xbox one does its job; you have a challenge, you complete it and you get certain points. You can compare them with friends and you have an overall Gamerscore that adds up all your achievements up.

Even though I primarily enjoyed my games on the Xbox 360, I never once cared about Achievements. With the PlayStation 4, I was hooked on day one

However, the Trophy system on the PlayStation 4 takes things one step further. There are three main types of trophies, bronze silver and gold, with silver and gold trophies reserved for the more difficult challenges in the game. Furthermore, the rarity of each trophy is assessed against all other PSN players. You really do feel like you are part of an exclusive club when you are the 2% of all PSN  users to achieve a certain Trophy. This mechanic alone elevates the Trophy system above the Xbox’s Achievement system. This is what the Achievement system set out to do all those years ago; give you those bragging rights and instill that sense of accomplishment. However, even though I primarily enjoyed my games on the Xbox 360, I never once cared about Achievements. With the PlayStation 4, I was hooked on day one.

Microsoft have diluted the sense of accomplishment with Achievements.

The way trophies are split in terms of difficulty also make it easier to compare them with other users. Furthermore, oncePS4trophy you have acquired all trophies in a game, you are awarded with a Platinum trophy and having earned my first ever one on Resogun, I was genuinely delighted. Multiple friends noticed that I achieved the Platinum trophy and messaged me to congratulate me or enquired about how I went about getting one. NEVER has anything of the sort happened on the Xbox 360 in the 7+ years that I have played on the system. The only time I ever completed all achievements on the Xbox 360 was on Halo 3 and that was in order to get a certain armour set for my Spartan; it had nothing to do with the achievement system itself. Microsoft have really diluted the sense of accomplishment with Achievements. You now get awarded achievements for watching movies on apps or using certain functions on the Xbox One. It wouldn’t surprise me  if there was an achievement for winking at the Kinect whilst balancing a bowl of cereal on your head.

As it stands, the Trophy system simply has more going for it. We don’t know how Microsoft will bring back the appeal of Achievements but right now, Sony simply have the better system in place.


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Proprietor of and a die-hard gaming fan since I was old enough to hold a controller.

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8 Responses

  1. RON says:

    Standing ovation for dogmapyramid

  2. DogmaPyramid says:

    “I never once cared about Achievements. With the PlayStation 4, I was hooked on day one.” Sorry, but all this just looks like a biased opinion. Your points do nothing to demonstrate that the trophy system is indeed better. I was expecting an article with some good reasons to make me care about trophies, but you’ve shown none.

    Bronze, silver and gold trophies? Well, maybe you have to direct criticism at Steam achievements, because each Xbox achievement is indicative of whether it will be hard go get it or not, unlike Steam’s. There are 5 G (Gamerscore, the score awarded for each achievement, in cause you don’t know), 10 G, 50 G and so on. In fact, it’s even easier to know if an achievement is easy or hard because you know exactly how much Gamerscore you will earn when you unlock it. The same can’t be said about bronze, silver and gold; the system is oversimplified. You could say that 5 G, 10 G and 20 G achievements would be all bronze trophies. But with the numbering system, I know with precision that a 5 G achievement will be easier to get than, say, a 20 G one, while they’d all be bronze trophies in the trophy system. They’re easy, sure, but just how easy?

    Nobody congratulated on your completions on Xbox 360 ? Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the only game that you completed was Halo 3? Maybe you never heard of TrueAchievements. It’s a site for achievement hunters where people share strategies and tips for unlocking them. And they do congratulate their peers on a daily basis. Healthy competition is encouraged. TrueAchievement’s sister site, TrueTrophies, pales in comparison. The community just isn’t as active. By the way, TrueAchievements and many other sites have detailed stats of completion rates, how many gamers have unlocked a particular achievement and so on.

    You don’t like app achievements? Stay away from them, then, instead of dismissing the whole system. In fact, TrueAchievements exclude app achievements from stats exactly because they’re not games. And come on, there are far sillier achievements/trophies in games than “winking at the Kinect”, like, maybe “pressing the start button for the first time”?

    While trophies were set in place for the PS4 since day one, the Xbox One introduced a new set of achievements, called challenges, which are time sensitive achievements that are available for you to unlock only for a set period of time. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. While they don’t award Gamerscore, the feeling of unlocking something as exclusive is really cool. A friend of mine has turned himself into a challenge hunter already and he’s the top scorer from his country in that regard. Nothing new was introduced to the trophy system with the PS4, though.

    The Xbox One also introduced achievements with rich, full HD art, that you can actually use as a wallpaper. The PS4, on the other hand, kept the same boring, low resolution art of the previous generation and of Steam. Compare multiplatform games in which the developer took advantage of the full HD art in the Xbox One to the corresponding trophies for PS4 and PS3. It looks beautiful, while on PSN it looks like it came straight from 2008.

    The few nice things going on for trophies are only the platinum trophies and ranking up, but besides that, they just fall short of the achievements system. Which is a shame; since it’s a ripoff, Sony could actually make some improvements while they were at it. I’m waiting for Nintendo to come up with something really innovative, if they ever bother to implement a similar system.

    • cd says:

      Wow getting mad are we? sry but i like the trophy system better especially the % of ppl who unlocked them instead of just numbers, getting an achievement is like yay i got an achievement then move on, trophies are a different ballgame sure MS pioneered the achievement system and sony came up with their own, im yet to get a platinum always 1 trophy in my way and believe me A LOT of trophies are ridiculous to get, steam and games themselves are more or less pretty much like MS achievements at least playstation does it a different way so it isnt a rip-off and we have idk how many communities on psn for trophy hunters no need to go to those wbsites thats old now! And my ps4 saves a PNG screenshot right when i unlock a trophy which is cool!

      • AusDingo says:

        How can you argue anything in this comment? He came up with totally perfect points and many of them. Buyers remorse? How would you know what their purchases are? Not sure if your aware, but you can actualy own more than one console

    • cd says:

      get over your buyer’s remorse!! achievements are boring! at least on Xbox. And the icons are pretty much identical on both.

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly a pony, trophies are a complete ripoff from ms achievements and done no differently. The only thing changed is the name to stop copyright. Sony is a very un-inspiring company who just steal ideas and think of nothing but themselves. Money whores.

    • Bmack says:

      Seriously you wrote 7 paragraphs crying about his article? I don’t think you read it properly first of all due to your response. He played Xbox mostly, so how’s that biased? Secondly I think you’re butthurt because you’re clearly an Xbox elitist. Stay away from articles of any kind if you can’t be mature enough to respect ones personal opinion.

  3. hatsune says:

    You forgot the best part about trophies. The are displayed on you PSN ID whenever you check your profile the first thing that you notice besides the profile picture is the amount of platinum trophies you have.

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