Original Xbox games coming to Live Marketplace

Downloadable back catalog tied to celebration that includes free Carcassonne download, new features set for December 4 firmware update.

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The Xbox 360 already plays a selection of original Xbox games with its backward-compatibility feature, but soon gamers won't even need a disc to boot games like Halo, Fable, Psychonauts, and Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. In conjunction with its ongoing celebration of the fifth anniversary of Xbox Live, Microsoft today announced that it will be selling those four games, among others, for download from the Xbox Live Marketplace early next month.

Calling the program Xbox Originals, Microsoft will sell the games for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15) each, and the company is promising to expand the number of games offered over the coming year. A Microsoft representative had not responded to a request for comment on whether these games would have their original online features intact, or if Xbox Live support would be added into previously offline-only games, such as Halo. Xbox Originals will debut on December 4, and will be part of a firmware update that will also include new parental-control options.

That isn't the only news Microsoft has to celebrate the anniversary of Xbox Live. The company has also announced that it will allow Xbox Live users worldwide to download a free game. For 48 hours beginning 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on November 15, members in Korea will be able to download Hexic 2 for free, whereas the rest of the world can grab the board game Carcassonne at no charge.

Microsoft is also offering a token of appreciation to longtime Live users. The company will deposit 500 Microsoft points ($6.25) into the account of every Xbox Live member who joined the service in 2002, the year it first launched.

Update:

Microsoft Australia has confirmed that although the Xbox Originals service will launch in Australia at the same 1,200 Microsoft point cost on December 4, gamers down under will not receive the bonus 500 points being given away to active Xbox Live subscribers. A representative for the company explained this was due to the later launch date of the Xbox console in Australia, meaning the five year anniversary will not coincide with the North American promotion. The representative was unable to confirm whether the promotion would be offered when the fifth anniversary does occur in Australia in late April next year.

UK Update:

Microsoft Europe, however, confirmed that the offer is good for European Xbox Live users, who hold Gold membership and have been active since launch.

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