Xbox 360 Games on Demand won't feature new games

Microsoft exec Shane Kim says the company is "not anywhere close" to day-and-date online releases for the latest titles.

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When the next Xbox Live update hits August 11, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to download a selection of full retail games, including Mass Effect, BioShock, and Assassin's Creed. What they won't be able to do is download the much-anticipated sequels to those titles on the day they hit stores.

Microsoft's Shane Kim.
Microsoft's Shane Kim.

In an interview with forward-focused business magazine Fast Company published this week, Microsoft games division executive Shane Kim nixed any notion of Xbox 360 games arriving on the Games on Demand downloadable service simultaneously with their retail counterparts.

"There are a lot of complex issues to deal with here, especially if you start talking about day-and-date release with retail availability--which is not something that we're talking about at all, today," Kim said, adding, "When it comes to us saying we want Games on Demand to enable day-and-date release of new titles, then there's certainly a lot of work we would need to go through. We're not anywhere close to that world today."

Kim also raised the possibility of such a move damaging Microsoft's relationships with traditional retailers, saying, "We have to be smart about how we approach this business."

Games on Demand isn't the only change to Xbox Live included in the next update. Netflix streaming (accessible only to Xbox Live Gold subscribers) will be tweaked to allow users to edit their movie queues. Also new will be the addition of movie parties, which will allow players' avatars to watch films in a virtual theater and deliver commentary, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style. The August 11 update will also add the Avatar Marketplace to Xbox Live, allowing players to purchase new clothing and items with Microsoft points (bought with actual currency).

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