Halo 4 and AMEX team up
Xbox and American Express have teamed up to offer automatic real-world rewards for playing Halo 4, connecting, as the company said, "interactive entertainment with offline benefits."
No, this is not a sick joke: gamers will be able to complete levels and win cash, coupons ... and maybe even a trip to the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo. In other words, if youre a gamer, and youre planning to play Halo, you just might be in line for $25, free from American Express. Or a Best Buy offer for $50 when you spend $100.
And the first 30 people to complete the game in the U.S. and UK will win a free trip to E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in 2013.
"The cool part is that youre playing the game as you normally would ... and unlocking huge value," American Express SVP Leslie Berland told me today.
Its a promo for what AmEx calls its Card Sync technology. By connecting your American Express card to your Xbox identity, gamers can earn coupons and even "cash" rewards, in the form of credits on your card.
"Card Sync ties your credit card account to your third-party digital identity," American Express head of product Dave Wolf said. "No data is shared, but the identities are matched."
Once thats done, American Express can trigger rewards for all kinds of behavior: shopping, checking in via FourSquare, tweeting, or sharing on Facebook. But now, for the first time, the company is adding rewards to achieving levels in Xbox games, starting with Halo 4.
"Halo 4 is probably going to be the biggest game release in history," Wolf said, adding that "this is a first ever on the Xbox platform ... being able to tie your Xbox platform behavior to real-world experiences has never been done in this way."
You will need some serious Xbox skillz to get those rewards, however.
The $50 off at Best Buy reward is the easiest to get - its open to anyone who completes a Spartan Ops mission on any difficulty. The free no-strings-attached $25 from American Express, however, will require completion of the "Wake Up John" level or normal or harder difficulty, and the E3 trip is for true experts who complete the entire game on Legendary Difficulty.
Perhaps the best part, other than the potential rewards, is the simplicity. Once your card is synced with your Xbox account, everything just happens, according to American Express. Any rewards that are coming your way can be viewed on your American Express dashboard on your Xbox, and are automatically added to your credit card statements.
"There are no coupons, no printout, no codes," Berland says. "It all happens seamlessly."