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Microsoft Bringing Free-To-Play To Xbox 360, But You'll Need A Gold Subscription

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
F2P, Free to play, Microsoft, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox LIVE Gold Membership

Microsoft have reaffirmed their commitment to free-to-play, detailing twtwo releases that will explore the potential of F2P on a home console in a pilot program that will begin with the release of Happy Wars in September, and continue with Ascend: New Gods a month or two later.

"We're always looking at ways to push the boundaries of the console and our digital platform," a Microsoft spokesperson explained to OXM. "Bringing true free-to-play gaming experiences to Xbox 360 is a natural extension of that.

"With the ongoing success of the model on PC, and the interest from both our consumers and our partners looking to explore this system on console, it simply made sense to deliver this experience through great games that would take advantage of it.

"In this pilot program, Microsoft Studios will support free-to-play gaming with Happy Wars, due out in September, as well as the recently announced game Ascend: New Gods which will ship in several months."

Of course, you'll have to cough up some money for the privilege of engaging in this free-to-play goodness, with the Xbox 360 not permitted online multiplayer unless you have an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription. Microtransactions will be handled via the MS Points system.

"The free-to-play model and games experiences will be available to all Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers," stated the rep, "as many of the games planned will be multiplayer games by nature (an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription is required for multiplayer gaming). The games that use the free-to-play mechanic will leverage the Microsoft Points system."

Good move or lip service? Give us your reactions in the box below. There's an Ascend: New Gods trailer up top for your viewing pleasure.

Add a comment14 comments
Korma  Aug. 28, 2012 at 13:17

The 360 Dashboard itself has been a F2P model for the last 2-3 years.

Quietus  Aug. 28, 2012 at 13:24

I thought it was 'Free to Play; Pay to Win', but I keep seeing this short version written everywhere.:|

Anarchist  Aug. 28, 2012 at 13:26

The 360 Dashboard itself has been a F2P model for the last 2-3 years.


Do you even understand what f2p means?

Korma  Aug. 28, 2012 at 13:46

The 360 Dashboard itself has been a F2P model for the last 2-3 years.


Do you even understand what f2p means?


Yeah, you get access to the basic version that is more or less functional, then bombarded with 'opportunites' to 'enhance' your experience like buying themes/avatar clothes/props.

Or forget the microtransactions and look at the ad-supported F2P model where 75% or more is non-functional but used for selling things to you.

I'm talking about Silver members here, Gold members unlock more features but still get the ads and microtransactions. If they then buy games like Mass Effect 3, that Gotham Imposters or a growing number they can have a lot of the 'benefits' of a F2P structure in the multiplayer of those games too.

JonLester  Aug. 28, 2012 at 13:52

The 360 Dashboard itself has been a F2P model for the last 2-3 years.


Do you even understand what f2p means?


Yeah, you get access to the basic version that is more or less functional, then bombarded with 'opportunites' to 'enhance' your experience like buying themes/avatar clothes/props.

Or forget the microtransactions and look at the ad-supported F2P model where 75% or more is non-functional but used for selling things to you.

I'm talking about Silver members here, Gold members unlock more features but still get the ads and microtransactions. If they then buy games like Mass Effect 3, that Gotham Imposters or a growing number they can have a lot of the 'benefits' of a F2P structure in the multiplayer of those games too.


Spot on Korma - not only does the dashboard resemble an ad-supported free app, but it's also designed to monetise Silver Members or encourage gold members to buy extra points/services.

DivideByZero  Aug. 28, 2012 at 15:03

Personally I am OK with ads in the dashboard as not everyone keeps up with what is coming out all the time. No different to the Steam Store (which is awesome). But I really never got paying for avatar or themes etc. What a complete rip.

In the early days of F2P you could get Far Cry for free, but it had adverts (which is fine, given the awesome game you get for free). That model works for me. This 'Free to Play; Pay to Win' (as quietus rightly put it) is a joke. Can't wait until this fad is over and we can just have our dev's making fun games that are based around GAMING and not microtransactions.

Late  Aug. 28, 2012 at 15:38

I'm amazed to see Microsoft moving away from "pay loads for the game and loads for the subscription then pay for extra content/dlc/cheating etc." toward "pay only subscription then pay for extra content/dlc/cheating etc.".

Can't see it lasting.



Off topic:
Speaking of the dash - I like the latest version (currently beta). Same style (I don't mind Metro now I'm more used to it), similar number of adverts (urgh), but you can now create shortcuts to some of your favourite apps, and there's the long overdue browser - which works well (aside from being slow when using a controller and virtual keyboard, of course. I'm sure it's fine if you use a proper keyboard, or even the little chatpad thingy...)

DivideByZero  Aug. 28, 2012 at 16:02

Nice.

Also off topic. Not sure if it's been mentioned here or not, but Metro wont be called Metro for much longer apparently, due copyright infringement of the name. Though it wont be going away and will just get a new name.

Last edited by DivideByZero, Aug. 28, 2012 at 16:03
Korma  Aug. 28, 2012 at 16:19

Nice.

Also off topic. Not sure if it's been mentioned here or not, but Metro wont be called Metro for much longer apparently, due copyright infringement of the name. Though it wont be going away and will just get a new name.


I think it might be an idea to start an open project to design a series of terrible user interfaces, really get down into the worst possible areas and then patent them all to stop them ever being used.

JonLester  Aug. 28, 2012 at 16:24

Off topic:
Speaking of the dash - I like the latest version (currently beta). Same style (I don't mind Metro now I'm more used to it), similar number of adverts (urgh), but you can now create shortcuts to some of your favourite apps, and there's the long overdue browser - which works well (aside from being slow when using a controller and virtual keyboard, of course. I'm sure it's fine if you use a proper keyboard, or even the little chatpad thingy...)


@Late: if the new dashboard update supports shortcuts or a customisable splash page, this will go a long way towards soothing my deep-seated hatred of that nasty OS. Who knows, I may even have to retract my rant...

DivideByZero  Aug. 28, 2012 at 17:28

Great idea Korma.

On the strength of Apple's, well, bulls*** court case, I was thinking about copyrighting just about everything anyone may ever do so I can sue people for billions just for doing something that a child would do instinctively.

Late  Aug. 28, 2012 at 19:18

@Jon:
You can put shortcuts ("pins") in a folder/pane immediately below "play current game". Beyond that there doesn't seem to be any customisation.
I only had a short time to play around with it last night, but I've put three pins in there - internet explorer, youtube, and iplayer. I had hoped to put a shortcut to the indie games section in there in some form, but it doesn't appear possible to do so (unless I just missed it - which is entirely possible).
If it turns out you can put shortcuts for dashboard pages of your choice in there then I'll be a happy bunny.

Korma  Aug. 28, 2012 at 20:34


If it turns out you can put shortcuts for dashboard pages of your choice in there then I'll be a happy bunny.


You'll maybe have to visit the xbox.com site in Internet Explorer, find the indie section and bookmark it in IE, on the 360 app, then pin THAT to the sub-menu of the home page and browse the indie games like that. Or buy a Kinect and shout at it.

Korma  Aug. 28, 2012 at 20:35

Actually, you'll probably shout at it anyway, save yourself the money. :)

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