When gaming becomes too expensive, there is only one thing desperate gamers call upon to satisfy their need for games. You may call them “referral programs,” but I call them “oh hey, free shit.”
The temptation of gaming rewards calls to gamers like guns to a red-neck. We will pretty much do anything for them. But be warned. A lot of risks come with earning something as valuable as, say, Microsoft Points. Programs may need an address and a name to accompany your zip code and state and mother’s maiden name and…screw it, this is Microsoft Points we’re talking about. Anything Xbox wants, then Xbox will get.
Alright all joking aside, the risks from these programs aren’t as severe as one may think. A name and an email address is usually all that is needed.
Tagline: Raptr delivers the top news for all things gaming & tracks your activity on Xbox, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, or mobile. If you play games, you’ll love Raptr!
Pros: A place that tracks ALL your achievements and rewards you for playing games.
Cons: The ranking system is a bit iffy. It seems to be based off other players’ gaming time which means if you want a higher ranking in any of your favorite games, you’ll have to either play more or earn more achievements. They also count one achievement earned as an hour of play time which makes no sense. Rewards have certain requirements to be met, some of which involves ranking in certain games.
Risks: In order to use Raptr, any gamer tag used to track down your achievements needs certain privacy settings to be turn off. If you’re the type that doesn’t like to publicize your gamer tag, this may not be the option for you.
Best Reward I’ve Received: Minecraft XBLA Code
Tagline: GameHuddle is a community-supplied video game rental marketplace driven by gamers passionate about playing and sharing video games.
Pros: Earn money (actual money) renting out YOUR games.
Cons: The renting service works in the owner’s favor based on the demand of the game. Usually that means the game that was recently released will be in high demand while the older games just sit to collect dust. There is also the issue of the condition of your games in someone else’s hands. Though I’ve received little scratches on my returned games (the game still worked), the possibility of your discs looking like an abstract painting is still there.
Risks: Your name, home address, and credit card/paypal info are required. Plus your games will be in other people’s hands. It’s a renting service after all
Best Reward I’ve Received: $25 (was only once though)
Tagline: Ready to rack up the Microsoft Points? It’s simple, fun and free. And if you have an Xbox LIVE Gold membership, it only makes the rewards that much more, well, rewarding. (Basically get rewarded for using and purchasing items through the Xbox Live)
Pros: Earn extra points based off what you already do with Xbox Live.
Cons: The rewards you can gain are Microsoft Points only. Compared to the other programs, the rewards earned are also very little (20 points for a monthly survey, 10 points to renew your Gold month membership, etc.). It also seems Microsoft is scaling back on certain rewards from activities.
Risks: The same risks you take when you sign-up with Xbox Live. Your gamer tag and email address.
Free My Apps
Tagline: Discover Great Apps. Get Rewarded. With FreeMyApps you get amazing rewards just for trying out awesome free Apps! Get these great gifts (and more) for free.
Pros: The rewards are highly sought after (gift cards for iTunes or Amazon).
Cons: A lot of downloading and trying apps you probably will never use afterwards.
Best Reward I’ve Received: $15 iTunes Gift Card
I haven’t covered every gaming related program, like Gamestop’s Power Up Program since I’ve only recently signed up, but it’s a pretty good list for those looking to earn some free crap. Jot down some of your favorite reward programs in the comments section.