Xbox Live launching free-to-play games

Online competitive brawler Happy Wars to be service's first title with freemium model, will require Gold membership.

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Free-to-play games are coming for paid subscribers of Xbox Live, Microsoft announced this week. Multiplayer cartoon brawler Happy Wars will lead the business model's charge onto Xbox Live Gold in September, Microsoft told Official Xbox Magazine.

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Ascend: New Gods, a role-playing game with ad hoc multiplayer elements, will be another of Xbox Live's first free-to-play offerings and is set to launch in "several months." Microsoft said the free-to-play games will be available only to Gold subscribers because many implement multiplayer, a Gold-only feature. Titles with in-game purchases will use Microsoft points.

Xbox Live's new offerings will increase the online service's parity with PlayStation Network, which already hosts free-to-play games including DC Universe Online and the upcoming Dust 514.

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