Xbox Live! Marketplace Unveiled

Microsoft announced that 400+ pieces of downloadable Xbox Live Marketplace content will be available to 360 users on November 22nd. Premium content will be purchased with Microsoft Points (1,600 Points = $20). Points are sold via Live! and via retail outlets.

Free content appears limited to trailers, demos, and music videos for now. “Premium” content includes “Gamer Pictures” and “Themes” to customize your Live! experience, and downloadable casual and classic games.

Microsoft’s hope, of course, is to encourage purchase of in-game content, like new cars, weapons, etc, not to mention game expansion packs. I hope that publishers put serious thought into using Live! to lower the initial cost of (some) games, thus broadening the market to users who can’t necessarily afford many $50 titles per year, and capturing more value overall when people (who can) voluntarily choose to pay more for extra playtime, features, etc.

2 responses to “Xbox Live! Marketplace Unveiled

  1. Hear hear.

    It was smart of MS to convert cash to points. Keeps people from perceiving the actual value of the items that they’re purchasing, at least initially. This micropayments system has a ton of potential if they don’t fuck it up like Valve did.

  2. On the rant against micropayments: I think he’s right that the industry could go down that route, which would be terrible. However, it doesn’t have to, and it definitely won’t at first, due to inertia.

    Look at GunBound for an example of content-added-via-cash-money that works out rather well. In it, you have a collection of points, which you can accumulate either by playing well or by swiping the crdeit card. The points don’t have an effect on the gameplay, but they allow you to buy hats and stuff for your avatar.

    It’s very important that games with purchasable in-game content don’t alienate new players by making it too difficult to compete with paid-up veterans.

    Also, we need a term that’s more wieldy than ‘games with purchasable in-game content’. Any suggestions?

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