NEWS - Sunday, September 17, 2006

Microsoft: No More XBLA Freebies

When Microsoft first released Texas Hold ‘em for Xbox 360’s Live Arcade, there was a 48 hours window in which XBLA members could download the full version free of charge with no strings attached. And that resulted in a record-breaking day for Live Marketplace, with over 100 downloads per minute in the first 24 hours of the title’s release. The game wasn’t even particularly embraced by the media, with Gamespot saying the title “does the barest of bare minimums to make a playable game of Xbox Live Arcade poker,” but the promotion still made it a huge success. Microsoft doesn’t plan to repeat the formula. Aaron Greenberg gave the distinct impression that the promotion was a one time shot and that there were no plans to repeat it. Greenberg was asked point blank, “Are there going to be more opportunities to download games free within the first 48 hours such as Poker? Poker was a huge hit, we had more downloads in the first 24 hours than any other item ever on Marketplace. That is a pretty big deal, given all the big demos and videos that have been up from some major franchises. But, to be honest this is not part of a long term strategy for us, it costs a lot of money to build these games and I am sure a number of people that downloaded it for free would have been willing to pay for it. Think of this as something we did as a thank you to the community for their support. Otherwise, all new Arcade will continue to have a free trial that everyone can download.


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