Xbox Live games can finally be purchased with real currency instead of Microsoft points. Online retailer Amazon.com this week launched a devoted Xbox Live section, from which users can purchase download codes for Xbox 360 games.
The Amazon site compensates for one of the Marketplace's biggest shortcomings: the inability to send games to friends as gifts. Customers who purchase games, Microsoft points, or Xbox Live subscriptions from Amazon's site will receive a code redeemable for those specific items that they can send to others.
The prices for games on Amazon are generally identical to those in the Marketplace, with the apparent exception of limited-time price promotions. For example, the Xbox Live Deal of the Week is Penny Arcade Adventures Episode 1: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness for 800 Microsoft points ($10), but the game is selling on Amazon for its original purchase price of $20.
Another advantage that the Marketplace still has over the Amazon site is the selection of games available. Amazon lists 99 games in its Xbox Live section, whereas Xbox.com lists 196 games currently available for download. Among the more conspicuously absent from the online retailer's catalog are recent releases such as The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai and popular games such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.