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Xbox Live introduces rewards program

Following on the heels of Sony launching Sony Rewards for PlayStation 3 gamers, Microsoft has launched Xbox Live Rewards, a loyalty incentive program that gives points to Xbox Live members that they can use to purchase downloadable content for their avatars and Xbox consoles.

Microsoft is touting the program as “a brand new way for Xbox Live members to earn Microsoft points for doing things they already do,” like play games and (of course) renew their memberships. The biggest incentive in the program is 400 Microsoft Points for renewing or initiating an Xbox Live Gold Family Pack membership—that equates to about $5. (Microsoft recently raised the subscription fee for Xbox Live Gold from $50 a year to $60 a year.) Other activities that earn reward points are 100 points for renewing or buying an Xbox Live Gold membership or making a first purchase on Xbox LIve Marketplace, or earning 20 Microsoft Points for taking a monthly survey.

Xbox Live Rewards is available to both free members and Gold members in the U.S. and United Kingdom; however, Gold members have more opportunities to earn reward points—mostly associated with renewing memberships, but Microsoft says other rewards will be available for purchasing selected content via Xbox Live Marketplace as well as playing games, but no additional details have been announced. Gamers are limited to earning 15,000 reward points during a 12 month period.

Sony’s rewards program isn’t based on points, but instead places members into three categories—Select, Pro, and Legendary—based on their activity. Sony offers more attractive rewards to higher categories.