Beginning February 12, any Xbox 360 user over the age of 13 with an Xbox Live account can register online for a chance to get Microsoft Points, Xbox Live Arcade games, and other Xbox gear in a pool of $500,000 worth of prizes. All registered users who can increase their Gamerscore by at least 1500 points before April 12 will win some digital swag, with prize values on a sliding scale depending on how many Gamerscore points the user has already accrued prior to February 12.
Prizes are said to based on how many Gamerscore points you have on February 12th at the start of registration. The more points you have and the more you earn in the next 60 days, the better the prizes you'll get. Prizes include Microsoft Points (good for Marketplace purchases), special themes and gamer pics, collectible t-shirts, and even copies of Fusion Frenzy 2.
With the total value of available prizes said to be $500,000 it could quite possibly be the best half-million dollars Microsoft ever spends out of their marketing budget. The Achievements and Gamerscore system implemented in the Xbox 360 has already given countless gamers a loyalty to the system never before seen. Speaking from my own experience, I am hardly the Achievement whore many people seem to be and I always make a point of earning my Achievements legitimately (i.e. I don't boost or cheat), but I've completely stopped playing all other consoles -- including my SLI-equipped gaming PC -- because of the continuity the Xbox 360 gives me not only with Achievements, but with my Friends list. Knowing that all of my gaming time can be used on a single console and actually help earn me prizes is just another reason to continue my console monogamy. Especially if the prizes include Microsoft Points (as good as cash as far as I'm concerned) and games. There's little to no chance of me wearing an Xbox t-shirt out in public, but if they establish certain tiers and offer t-shirts that proclaim, as Epic's Cliffy B once said, your individual level of "Nerd Cred" on them then I can see thousands of gamers binging on Bawls and Doritos just to stay up a little later, to earn a few more points, to get that uber-geek level shirt.
Well played, Microsoft.