Full game downloads, Avatar Marketplace coming to Xbox Live

E3 2009: Console maker announces plans for downloadable versions of Xbox 360 titles, user ratings also in the works.

LOS ANGELES--A range of new Xbox Live services were announced during the Microsoft press conference this morning, including deals with Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter, and UK TV broadcaster Sky. At an invite-only "bloggers luncheon" immediately following the press conference, Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten expanded on new developments for Xbox Live and followed this up in an open letter to Xbox Live members on Microsoft's developer network today.

The most important new feature not revealed during the press conference is the new Games on Demand feature, which will allow Xbox 360 owners to purchase and download full Xbox 360 games directly to their hard drive. Purchasers will be given the option to buy games using a credit or debit card, rather than using Microsoft points.

According to Whitten, "The Games on Demand channel will launch with a library of more than 30 great games, from classic hits like Mass Effect, BioShock and Assassin's Creed, to family favourites like Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Sonic the Hedgehog." He went on to add, "You'll have access to a wide variety of great games, downloadable in only a few hours and at the touch of a button. We've also added the option to purchase Games on Demand directly with your credit or debit card."

Whitten also announced a range of new features for New Xbox Experience's avatars, including "avatar items as awards when playing games." Microsoft and third-party publishers will be releasing a range of premium clothing and interactive props for avatars and revealed a costume based on Halo 3: ODST's Shock Troopers as an example.

Lastly, user ratings will be coming to Xbox Live Marketplace. A five-star rating system will allow users to rate games and game add-ons and sort games by user rating. For more about Microsoft's E3 announcements, read our full blog from the press conference and stay tuned to GameSpot for more Microsoft news over the week.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

Discussion

143 comments
carbine97
carbine97

Wait so out of the 30 Games they chose. They put in Sonic The Hedgehog? uhhhhhhhhhhh..........right.

faatui06
faatui06

that good 360 is doing that is better then playstation home.

gedbyz
gedbyz

I will stick with renting games.

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

This will be great for some countries.

blackace
blackace

Not a bad idea. Especially if you are having a hard time finding the game on retail shelves. How long doesn't it take to download a 5 GB game? lol!! If I had Verizon FIOS, this probably wouldn't be a problem. User's rating isn't a bad idea either. Hopefully it doesn't get abused.

asian_pride69
asian_pride69

@DarkNeoBahamut: Lol although it's funny, I totally agree with you

prioritymail
prioritymail

Sweet, user ratings for downloads so you don't have to waste your money on something thats not worth it.

Livewirez
Livewirez

What's with all of this negative feedback, MS add new features and people complain, OPTIONAL FEATURES, I repeat OPTIONAL. Yes a bigger HDD for a cheaper price than what the 120g is would be really great but they've just announced the features, and perhaps they've yet to announce a bigger HDD at TGS this year.

markBRENTowitz
markBRENTowitz

does anybody know when all these new features are going to come out?

coky14
coky14

I'm still gonna get the real version, disc and booklets included, UNLESS a big price difference between the two versions...

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

There´s not enough space in the harddrive for this to work. It's just like the virtual console before the last update.

pakhair
pakhair

Awesome.............

ausgamer529
ausgamer529

im not a x box gamer but im pretty sure its a rippoff to have to download games you can buy at the store

lamprey263
lamprey263

full game downloads would be good if I had a faster DSL speed (like 20 megabits/sec) and larger HDD space to compensate (at least 1 TB)... but I don't, and since I buy a lot of games I'd definitely need quite a bit of HDD space

patriotism101
patriotism101

Forget buying these games, why not rent them like they do movies. I got a 120 GB hard Drive so space doesn't mean much. Its the money that matters. I go to blockbuster to rent a game only to find them out of the new ones. So I think renting would be more convenient then buying. But they have to have 60 bucks instead of 5 or 10 dollars, and it doesn't matter what there users say.

gmax
gmax

No more game discs? Hmm... How long until download *only* games can exceed DVD limitations?

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

I´ve always thought that a user rating option was going to come to the Marketplace, I´m very happy to see it come.

Kruegmeister
Kruegmeister

ODST Avatar COOOOOOLLLLLLL Now... How about XBox Live per Console instead of per Person. How many Families want to Shell out $200 a year so every family member can have a Profile? Not this Family...

DFBTG
DFBTG

Oo, great, we can download massive game files on a not so massive HDD. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. It wouldn't be bad if MS didn't limit your HDD options so severely and if they didn't charge a ridiculous amount for them. I suppose for those who are able to allow their wallet to take it up the rear this is good news; for those not quite so masochistic, it's rather useless.

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Here is to hoping being able to buy directly with a credit card spreads to the rest of the Marketplace and won't just be for the game downloads.

ck666
ck666

This "Glorified Blu-Ray Player" made MGS4 possible, by the way. Of course hard drive space is gonna be an issue, that`s how they`re going to make more money - want games on demand? No prob, just buy another one of our ridiculously priced HDD! And yes, blu-ray drive does make a difference, for example in Bioshock, the developers were able to add much more higher quality textures, models, etc in the game. Which was not possible on 360. It`s just the matter of developers bothering to take the full advantage of the technology.

rocketman97
rocketman97

what im desperately hoping for is that this new service will bring down costs of hard drives. previously not many people were buying hard drives, so they had to keep costs high, but with downloadable games, the demand for more storage space will most likely go way up, bringing down the hard drive costs to, dare i say, a reasonable price!

joegio13
joegio13

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

drummerdickens
drummerdickens

LOLZ at full game downloads. Because I want to buy a game that not only fills my hardrive but I can't eBay when I'm done with it? Stupid idea.

DarthEthong467
DarthEthong467

@ck666 LOL! That is the dumbest excuse I have ever heard! Do you seriously think that's why they're doing this? Because the 360 doesn't have Blu-ray??? I think games on demand is a great idea. The hard drive space may be an issue, but whatever.

d3emondav3
d3emondav3

Speaking of ODST, IGN has a video of the demo, which looks cool. Just thought I'd tell everyone!

ck666
ck666

That`s just stupid - a full game like Bioshock or Assassin's Creed takes almost 5Gb of space on your HDD. Look at the prices & capacities on 360 hard drives! Obviously Microsoft is desperately looking for every imaginable possibility to make up for the lack of blu-ray drive on their machine... But this aint the answer.

Franko_3
Franko_3

Dumb idea. Digital distribution works on pc, because the pc users have good and cheap HD (not a 20gb for 60$) and they know that pc gaming will not die in 2-3 years and evolve into pc gaming 2.0, like it will be the case for the x360 to x720 (if that the name)

d3emondav3
d3emondav3

Sounds cool, but all I have to say is this: our prayers for avatar outfits have been anwered, so suck it you stupid Wii fanboys!

YoBrandino
YoBrandino

Well, I imagine it work just like arcade games and xbox originals that you download. You can delete them and re-download them. And if your console breaks and gets sent in and you get a different one returned, when you reattach your hard drive with them already on it, you would just have to re-downlaod the license for the new console to play them.

Autolycus
Autolycus

um im out of space and WILL NOT be purchasing anything more then 1 gb, as I dont have it. And I wont be purchasing a new HD, simply due to my principle beliefs that when I purchased my system, it should've been all I needed. If they don't do something to please this LARGE group of customers, I wont be getting any more MS consoles or systems or Sony because they did the same thing. 40gb,80gb,60gb,20gb,etc

Jabstor
Jabstor

sounds great. but all i am wondering is that when you delete a game, mainly because of lack of storage. Can it be downloaded again?

shinian
shinian

I hate, just hate e-distribution.

drand24
drand24

wonderful idea. buying and downloading a 2 year old game for the same cost of buying the disc = awesome. for all those concerned about losing the game when your hard drive crashes - the game download is tied to your user account, and can be downloaded an infinite number of times as long as you still have the account.

Savior82
Savior82

While it's nice, it would be better if they could release games in multiple regions at same time. Tired of waiting for the EU releases, we can read english here. Gamers have no real need for the multiple translations, which are often used as excuse for the 1 year+ delays.

nathace
nathace

this will also effect game shops! such a gamestop and GAME and the rest :\

Peaches1347
Peaches1347

i think there will to many complications with the game on demands and also why not just buy the disc version???

coruscant
coruscant

Given that the 360 has practically no HDD this is going to be a problem. Luckily I have a PS3 and I can get a 500 GB HDD for £80 if I needed it. However, since I have a 60GB PS3 anyway, I don't need too. :)

dr3b
dr3b

Call me old fashioned but I would rather have a game disc in case a harddrive crashes or there is a network problem, especially with games you're paying 60-70 dollars for. Plus its always nice to see the collection lined up on the shelf. Good for some though.

awaltzforvenus
awaltzforvenus

I agree that there's now a pretty clear need to allow 360 owners to install larger HDDs to their Xboxes. My 60GB definitely won't cut it, nor do I think the newer 120s will. Between downloaded full games, DLC, movie downloads, etc etc etc....even that 120GB will get filled up real quick...

jadefury27
jadefury27

Why am i having flashbacks of the "sega channel"?