NEWS - Monday, April 11, 2011

Free-to-Play Games Coming to Xbox Live

Microsoft is reportedly set to launch free-to-play video games on its Xbox Live service.

According to a "trusted source" speaking to IGN, publishers and developers will be able to release games for free and then charge users for additional content, such as weapons, experience points, in-game currency, and perks. The first of these titles is expected to arrive next year.

The news is particularly surprising considering Microsoft’s notorious refusal to make Xbox Live an ’open’ service for third-party developers - meaning that any microtransaction or upgrade requires MS approval, and preventing developers offering upgrades direct to consumers.

Companies such as Valve have admitted frustration with the limitations this places on upgrades and patches to titles such as Team Fortress 2.

Microsoft is therefore likely to publish any F2P title itself. The business model has won popularity online, with titles such as League of Legends by Riot Games and more recently EA’s BattleField Play4Free attracting legions of gamers.



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