By James BrightmanXbox Live has been the leader in online console gaming for years now, and as the Kinect continues to bring in a broader audience to the platform, perhaps it’s time to also consider offering a wider array of content on Xbox Live. One great way to do that would be to offer free-to-play games, and “a trusted source” has indicated to IGN that this actually is in the works.
Free-to-play has become huge in browser games and social games, to the point where traditional publishers are gravitating towards the business model of “freemium” (free but with extras and in-games items up for sale via micro-transactions). It’s done wonders for EA, which has pushed its franchises like Battlefield and FIFA with the free-to-play model.
We could definitely envision games like EA’s or titles from Nexon or Riot Games (League of Legends) performing well on Xbox Live. And considering that everyone already uses Microsoft Points, the currency system is well established. It’s a (relatively) frictionless experience.
According to our friends at Eurogamer, Microsoft’s already refused to comment on the matter, issuing the standard, “Microsoft does not comment on rumours or speculation.”
If it happens, IGN’s source has pegged the launch for some time in 2012. Considering that some developers feel the traditional $60 games market is “exploitative,” we’re sure a free-to-play service on Xbox Live would gain support fairly quickly.
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