Xbox Has Made A Gamer Credit Card

If the last time you were at the store you thought, “I wish it was more clear that I am a gamer while buying these groceries,” then Xbox has a solution for you: the official Xbox Mastercard. Announced in an Xbox news blog on September 11, the new Xbox Mastercard (issued by Barclays) will let you use points earned from everyday purchases on games or add-ons in the Xbox store, and you can even get your gamertag etched onto one of five “iconic” card designs (they all feature the Xbox logo). But there’s a catch: You can only apply for the card if you’re an Xbox Insider, and only if you’re in the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii.

Like most rewards-based credit cards, you’ll earn points for every $1 you charge on the gamer credit card, but you’ll earn even more points if you spend your money in specific places:

  • You’ll earn 5x points for purchases of “eligible products” at the Xbox and Microsoft stores
  • You’ll earn 3x points on “eligible streaming services” like Disney Plus and Netflix
  • You’ll earn 3x points on “eligible dining delivery services” including Grubhub and Doordash

It’s unclear what the other “eligible” storefronts are just yet—like, if I buy Overwatch coins through my Xbox account in order to get a new $20 skin, will that count towards earning 5x points on my gamer credit card? Or not, because it’s technically through Blizzard’s storefront? This is a need-to-know detail.

If you become an Xbox Mastercard member, you’ll also get a $50 bonus in the form of points after making your first purchase with the card, and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for free (but only if you’re not already a Game Pass member). “If [you’re] already a Game Pass member, [you] can easily gift it to a friend to play together,” the Xbox news post reassures.

Buy Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Best Buy | GameStop

If you’re not an Xbox Insider, you can’t apply for the card, but luckily becoming an Xbox Insider isn’t all that difficult—just go to your Xbox console, type “Xbox Insider Bundle” into the search bar in the store, and install the “Xbox Insider Hub.” If you’re on PC, head to the Microsoft Store from your start button, type “insider” into the search bar, and download the Xbox Insider Hub. Boom, you’re in.

Will you get the Xbox credit card? Personally, I’m a sucker for cards that earn you points (hell, I’m flying to England for free thanks to one of those setups), and I’m certainly tempted by the idea of swiping a black Xbox Mastercard that reads “hayy GIRL hayy” at my local dispensary, so we’ll see. Xbox Insiders can apply for the Xbox Mastercard starting September 21, while the rest of the United States will have to wait until 2024 to get some new hard plastic in their wallets.

New Starfield Patch Kills Mud Puddle And Credit Exploits

Today, we mourn the loss of something great. A quiet little spot in the middle of a big galaxy. A puddle that simply wanted to help you and was always there, ready to provide. And now, following Bethesda’s latest Starfield patch, it’s gone. Gone, but not forgotten.

Shortly after the release of Bethesda’s massive space RPG Starfield, players discovered an exploit that had appeared in previous games developed by the studio was alive and well in this newest one. In Akila City, in the middle of a dirt road, was a small puddle of mud. And if you got close to this puddle, and gave it a moment of your time, it would provide you with the entire inventory of a nearby shop thanks to a “merchant chest” that was buried underground there…but not buried deeply enough.

This small, humble puddle provided many players, myself included, with stacks of free-to-grab ammo, credits, and other valuable items that could then be resold to other vendors or hoarded for later use. After a few days, the puddle would refill its items, never stopping you from getting what you needed. A hero unlike any other.

And now it’s dead. Bethesda killed it in Starfield’s 1.7.33 patch. Also dead after that patch: another popular money-making exploit that relied on a similarly easy-to-reach merchant chest. A dark day for us all.

Bagpipe Master

I’ll never forget that magic mud puddle. It provided me with so many guns that I sold to a nearby vendor for extra credits. Countless aliens and pirates across hundreds of planets lay dead and rotting thanks to the ammo provided by that once-glorious magic mud puddle. I made a habit of always visiting the puddle to grab some gifts and say hello to it whenever in Akila City. It was nice. In a universe so cold and filled with death, the puddle—my puddle—stood out. A constant. A beacon of hope. Something everybody could rely on, no matter what.

Now I fear what I’ll find the next time I land on that dirtball. Instead of some mud-covered hope buried in a friendly puddle, I’ll find the empty corpse of a friend, of someone who never let me down, murdered by a software update. Rest in peace, Magic Puddle. You were too good to last forever in such a cruel world.

Buy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Destiny 2 Offers Players $45 Credit Over Mistaken Cheating Bans

A Destiny 2 Guardian rejoins the fight from their space ship cockpit.

Image: Bungie

Destiny 2 has been cracking down on cheating in recent years, and the sci-fi shooter is now riddled with players who claim they were banned by mistake. However, it seems at least some of them may have been telling the truth: Bungie recently contacted a few players to apologize for banning them by mistake, offering them roughly $45 in premium currency to make up for the error.

As reported by The Verge’s Tom Warren, a recent email from the studio stated that a “small number” of players had their accounts “inadvertantly flagged as having tampered with game client functionality.” The email continued, “While the overwhelming majority of these detections are accurate, we discovered that in extremely rare cases this detection may be triggered through no fault of the player.”

Bungie explained that a recent audit of its cheating detection processes revealed the false positives, and it’s taken action to fix the issue. It’s unclear for how long any of the players wrongly banned for cheating were excluded from the game, but the studio is offering them 5,000 Silver to spend on emotes and ornaments in the Eververse microtransaction shop. The premium in-game currency bundles can also be spent on battle passes for upcoming seasons.

Destiny 2 has been in a constant tug-of-war with cheaters, especially in its top-tier competetive modes like Trials of Osiris, a weekly competition where players compete for some of the best loot in the game. Its recent crackdowns, which have been cheered by the community as a way to sure up the integrity of the game’s struggling PvP modes, have resulted in a number of publicized ban waves. Bungie even got a player legally banned from ever playing Destiny 2 again through a court order last month.

Some of those caught up in the cheating ban waves have been less impressed by Bungie’s efforts. The game’s subreddit, forum, and social media include frequent posts by people claiming they were wrongfully banned and criticizing the studio for the lack of transparency around its appeals process. It’s unclear if the recent “small number” of mistakes will alter the way Bungie deals with suspected cheaters. The studio did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

Update 10/11/2023 2:00 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Bungie provided Kotaku with the following statement:

“We recently identified and resolved an issue that resulted in a small number of accounts being inadvertently flagged during a recent ban wave. This issue was isolated to this specific ban wave, and we have made changes to our review process to ensure this issue is not repeated. Impacted players have been notified, accounts restored, and make-goods provided.”