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MS Details on Xbox Live, Marketplace Changes 82

Two of the less prominent announcements during E3 were that would be coming to Xbox Live, and so would the ability to purchase games that were only available through physical media in the past. Microsoft has now elaborated on how those services will work. According to Kotaku, "The [] service will be made available later this year, and will be free to all Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Once accessed, the section of the 360 dashboard will function in much the same way as the popular internet radio station does on your PC." The Games on Demand service will let people pay the actual cost of the game with a credit card, bypassing the Microsoft Point system if they want to. To start, the service will be focused on making the popular, but older games available, rather than launching new games through it. Licensing for the games will work in much the same as for Arcade games now, so players will be able to re-download deleted games at will.
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MS Details on Xbox Live, Marketplace Changes

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  • Is only newsworthy if you can use it as an In-Game soundtrack.
    • don't forget the advanced use as a media center, i don't want to run all of my devices (xbox, pc, wireless audio system) at once, just to stream music while playing, think of the environment!
    • (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:09AM (#28264367) Homepage

      Not really, it's still a nice feature. Many people have their 360's plugged through their entertainment system. It's a nice way to have internet radio without having to plug in a computer...although it would be nice to have in game as well. Funny thing though, these days I don't find myself listening to music while playing games very often unless I'm playing a puzzle game or something of the sort. With all the 3D games today, I usually have the game audio playing for positional information. Depending on the game I might even put on headphones for more detailed positional information than what my tv puts out. It's not like the old NES/SNES days where I'd mute the game (unless it was something like Mega Man of course) and turn on the stereo.

    • You'd think it would be simple enough. Just HTTP, XML, and MP3. All of which is already used for UPnP streaming (although that's over UDP). But seeing as how this is Microsoft, they'll probably screw this up. It's unclear if, Facebook, and MySpace are actually integrated with the dashboard or separate applications like Netflix. Probably the later, as I don't see any options to activate visualization.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:57AM (#28264255) Homepage

    How about having some of the download only content available on physical media?

    My biggest beef is that when I buy a download, If I want to get rid of it, I just burn the money. At least with a Disc I can sell it used to someone and recoup a couple of bucks.

    Castle Crashers is fun, but I've played it through 12 times now, I'd like to give it to a neighbor or sell it for $1.00 on ebay.

    This is why I hate downloaded content.

    • by lordandmaker ( 960504 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @08:59AM (#28264285) Homepage

      This is why I hate downloaded content.

      This is why publishers love it, though.

    • by $1uck ( 710826 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:15AM (#28264441)
      I've seen some of the DLC content for sale on physical media. Still can you blame the publisher? Lets be honest here what you bought is a license, you don't own the game (regardless of the distribution system).. You own a license to play it. You don't own the right to use the game characters to sell your products you don't own lots of other rights to the game. I think this is reasonable. If you want the right to sell your "license" that you purchased of a particular game/music, they're not going to give that to you. You're going to have laws written to require that. Go talk to your congress person.
      • Lets be honest here what you bought is a license, you don't own the game (regardless of the distribution system).. You own a license to play it.

        That's still up for debate on the courts. Problem is, you need someone with the big bucks and will to fight it to supreme. Or, in my case, someone to bribe our congressman and Judges

      • I'm not sure why you'd need laws. Presumably, game publishers don't want to allow internet resale because the ease of finding people to sell to online is huge and if there was no physical getting off the couch/posting a disc nearly everyone would do it. I'm guessing that this would require the games to get more expensive (or lower budget) to compensate.

        If there was big demand and people really cared about this issue the free market would take care of it, because games that could be resold online would be m

      • Sure they can do that via DLC, but if you have physical media, you have a right to sell it even if it's against the license agreement. See this article [] for the court ruling. This ruling also might have more of an effect later, as the arguments hinged on the fact that even though the software was billed as leased, the transaction had the characteristics of a sale, and therefore the First Sale doctrine applied. Using that logic, would it be reasonable to expect that the bits you paid for could come under the
        • by $1uck ( 710826 )
          I'm no lawyer, but I think in one instance you purchased a physical item in the other you didn't purchase anything physical (the bits were already on your machine). It's reasonable to assume you can resell your physical media. I guess what would be interesting to see is someone selling an ipod on ebay full of music (that they legally purchased). I know there similar issues on ebay before (but I believe it involved pirated music or music of questionable origins). I like the convenience of downloading ga
      • Two points: First, all we've ever been able to buy is a license to a game, not the game itself. Why is it that just because the distribution model changes from bits on a disc to bits on a wire, the consumer should lose their rights to resell? Perhaps the companies can be held liable for denying consumer rights, or perhaps we do need a new law to cover this.

        Second, if these new products cannot be resold and they have no physical component, then they are less valuable. They are cheaper to produce, cheaper to

        • Therefore, they should be priced at a much lower point. I won't hold my breath though.

          Already there. Most of the Xbox Arcade games are in the $10-$20 price range. That's a lot less than the standard $60 for a disc game.

          Yes, I know the disc games are also usually bigger, but you have to admit that many downloadable games are just as enjoyable for 1/6 to 1/3 of the price.

      • by CaseM ( 746707 )

        So since I have a "license", will they replace my game for free in case I scratch the media?

    • You're one of those terrible, terrible people who the Games Industry complained about [], aren't you? One of those poor misguided'consumers' who thinks that just because you bought it and there's legislation (in the US at least) that gives you certain rights when you purchase something then you should be able to do what you like with it, making a profit, a profit, without sharing any of it back to the poor, deserving and penniless publisher that let you have it in the first place.

      Yeah, I agree, g

      • by Sj0 ( 472011 )

        I don't see how steam is any less reliable than a bunch of CDs or DVDs. Lost the CD? Get ready to steal, because you won't get it back otherwise.

        • Lost the CD - that's your own stupid fault for not being careful. Have the company lose/close the server - that's completely out of your control and can deprive you of something you purchased (see all the people with Yahoo and, I think, Walmart music who either lost or nearly lost all the music they paid for).

          CDs and DVDs are just like any other physical item - you buy them, you own them, they're your responsibility to look after. Or are you suggesting that your mobile phone/PDA/books/external hard drive/re

          • by Sj0 ( 472011 )

            You're very wrong. The company may be able to lock me out of their servers, but they can't lock me out of my software. It's the internet, after all.

            • In what specific was is it wrong? If your game needs to contact an activation server before letting you play because it is a digital download, or if the only way to get a game is from a download server (which may or may not still exist in three, five or ten years time) then they sure as hell can lock you out of the software you bought and 'own'.

              If I own a game on CD/DVD then I own it. I can install it when I want, where I want. I can even (and I've done it recently) play a 14 year old game without having to

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hansamurai ( 907719 )

      If I have the option, I'll never buy downloadable content as opposed to physical media. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been selling old Super Nintendo and N64 games complete with their boxes and instruction manuals, easily recouping what I spent on the game in the first place over 10 years ago. If Nintendo had instead let me download those, they would be completely worthless to both me and anyone else in the market at this point. A couple of months ago I was looking to purchase World of Goo, and whi

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Personally I don't mind the fact that pure DLC is tied to an account, although I see your argument, because what I don't like is when you buy a game on physical media and then have to activate it via Steam and so can't sell the game on because when it's tied to your account and e-mail address the physical media effectively then has no value so you either bin it which is wasteful or have it sat lying around.

      I'd rather they kept it separate - DLC is DLC, physical media is a product that can be used and sold o

      • by tibman ( 623933 )

        If your Car was a Game.. wouldn't it be nice that anytime you wanted to drive your car (any one of dozens) you just said a few words and within minutes your car arrived, fully functional, anywhere in the world? You can park it anywhere and leave it for years and the car always returns brand new! It even comes upgraded to the newest car version too!

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          Not if I can't sell it on when I've finished with it and not if the manufacturer can randomly deny access to said car through faults at their end, no.

          • by tibman ( 623933 )

            Ah, but that's all knowledge up front and not hidden costs/disadvantages. Also, just like all businesses, you can "shop around" for the company you feel is the most competent to keep your Car available at all times. Or you can just pick a normal Car and hope you never lose any keys to your dozens of cars 5 years down the road (or resell some before that happens).

            • by Xest ( 935314 )

              Well no, this is the problem. It's not advertised on physical game boxes (i.e. see Dawn of War II) that your access to the game is dependent on Valve's servers, it only states that you have to register with them, not activate with them, not update from them, and not depend on them for access. The downsides are absolutely not advertised up front.

              There's also no way to get a copy of Dawn of War II without Steam, and as games are as different as movies, it's not as simple. Cars all effectively provide the same

              • by tibman ( 623933 )

                I just went to and looked at the physical game box. On the back under system requirements is says "Internet connection required" in bold red and then explains that you must activate and use the game with Steam in order to play.

                That being said, the phyisical game box/cd in this case seems very useless since it's tethered to Steam anyways. Not sure why you'd buy this in a physical store when you have to use the internet with it anyways? Perhaps a previous contract with Gamestop?

                • by Xest ( 935314 )

                  I think the US version of the box maybe slightly different then, certainly nothing about using it with Steam here, only that you must initially activate it and certainly nothing about being required to sign up to Games of Windows live, only that it supports it.

                  Of course, even the basic registration requirement isn't mentioned on many online retailers sites, but that's the retailers fault as much as anything.

                  I agree with you in that the physical game box/cd is useless and that's largely my point, you can eff

    • by Deag ( 250823 )

      On the other hand, (and this is going to sound extremely lazy), you don't have to get off the couch to change the game disk.

      I sometimes play the same game for a week at a time because I am too lazy to go the 10 feet to change the disk. I can turn the console on and off without getting up. If only you could load all the disks into the damn thing.

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:03AM (#28264315)

    and why do you have to pay for stuff that is FREE on the pc?

    This is what sucks with locked in systems.

    • by $1uck ( 710826 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @09:10AM (#28264373)
      Requiring GOLD xbl membership for is silly. That being said, its free (for Gold members) they're not charging you for it. As for downloaded games those aren't free on the pc.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I believe that the parent is referring to "downloadable content". Since the dawn of PC games, addons have always been free. You can download a Total Conversion for DooM, a Mod for Half-Life, New planes for IL2, extra unit packs for Total Annihilation, etc...

        I don't have an issue with micropayments for video games (considering I'm a small game developer), but I can understand the complaint of the grandfather post.

        It's been a painful trend over the last few years on console games that have micropayments to re

    • They need to make their money back somewhere. If you can sucker console gamers in with £45+RRP games when PCs are closer to £30RRP then why not make them pay more for other things as well? They're obviously willing to do it ;)

    • by sricetx ( 806767 ) on Tuesday June 09, 2009 @11:14AM (#28266095)
      The freely available x360mediaserver [] will send streaming internet radio to the xbox360. It runs on any PC with java (Linux or windows). I haven't tried it with, but I assume it would work. If it doesn't, run the Lastfm stream through LastFMProxy [] and connect to the proxied stream with x360mediaserve.
    • is NOT free. is 3 GBP per month, no discounts for longer subscriptions. Sure you could use some of it functionality free-of-charge but the best bits (loved tracks, playlists) require payment (
  • Sounds like the Xbox 360 slim rumors didn't come to pass.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The points system is the stupidest thing. I have to buy a block of points that don't have a covnversion rate in base 10 (instead, it's 80 points to the dollar).

    Then, the sellers pick an arbitrary number of points (320 points) and want me to do a conversion in my head to figure out what I'm actually being charged (which I'm capable of, but shouldn't have to. In this case, $4). Then, if I have only have 300 MS points, I have to buy a block of at least 400 more.

    MS needs to ditch the points system. I rarely buy

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      The points system is the stupidest thing. I have to buy a block of points that don't have a covnversion rate in base 10 (instead, it's 80 points to the dollar).

      Then, the sellers pick an arbitrary number of points (320 points) and want me to do a conversion in my head to figure out what I'm actually being charged (which I'm capable of, but shouldn't have to. In this case, $4). Then, if I have only have 300 MS points, I have to buy a block of at least 400 more.

      MS needs to ditch the points system. I rarely buy

    • One benefit is that they only need to adjust the price of points in other currencies as they fluctuate, and not the price of every single item they sell.

      At one point when the Canadian dollar was nearly equal in value to the American dollar, Sony adjusted all their Canadian prices on PSN to the American prices. That was only possible because they happened to have prices for all items in another currency of approximately the same value. Now that the Canadian dollar is weaker again, they will be making les
    • by WWWWolf ( 2428 )

      MS needs to ditch the points system.

      OK, suppose Microsoft would just show the "real" prices of the content. How do you propose MS will account for different currencies and inflation in various parts of the world? The points system masks all this: If you buy a points card, you'll get a certain amount of stuff.

      You can't ditch the account system entirely and go for pay-as-you-buy, because not everyone is willing, or even able, to pay with credit cards. (I for one can't buy a damn thing on most interesting online game stores. Nintendo and Microso

  • Seen this tactic before. Download old games at new prices. So while the game is available for £10 at retail brand new, you can download it for £30 saving you the trouble of dealing with things like pysical media, packaging and resale value.

    Steam is frankly just as bad though. When I wanted to buy Frontlines it was £35 on Steam, or £10 delivered from with the T-shirt, Art book and Dogtags. Market tollerance is a terrible thing.

    • by Sj0 ( 472011 )

      Must be nice living in a world of free shipping.

      My option for Assassin's creed is either 10 dollars on steam, or 20 dollars and 30 dollars shipping with an on-line store.

      • Tried gamestracker? I know that for the uk it lists prices with shipping included, so you can see exactly who is the cheapest. It should be the same for the US as far as I'm aware.

        The majority of new titles will drop bellow the £15 mark at some point with in the 1st 3 months of release. Stores get overstocks or put them up as loss leaders, it's just a matter of checking gamestracker and hotukdeals (I'm sure you have an equivalant) on a regular basis. I've seen games suddenly spring up in 2 for

        • by Sj0 ( 472011 )

          From my perspective, the value of a download is either full price or nothing. If the publisher refuses to sell to me, I'm under no obligation to buy. Doesn't mean I can't play.

          (Gametap is insane for that though. Practically every game I've wanted to play but couldn't find is there.)

  • The Xbox I picked up has a 20gb HDD. With online distribution a major feature for the console, this is just criminally small. Yes, yes, I'm sure it was huge back when they put the specs together but it's pathetic these days. There's a 120gb model you can buy but it's like four times what a comparable drive could cost in the PC world. These drives are the razors, Microsoft, the downloads are the blades! Make a drive that expensive and I'm just not going to download much. When I can get a 1.5tb drive for $100

  • The big question: Will on the Xbox 360 stop playing after 45 minutes of no input, the way it does on the PC? The "Are You Still Listening" prompt would seriously decrease its value.

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye