Xbox Live Marketplace


Xbox Live Marketplace

Infobox VG Online Service
title = Xbox Live Marketplace

caption =
developer = Microsoft Corporation
type = Online market
update =
version =
started = November 2005
console = Xbox 360
website = [http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/marketplace101.htm Official Website]

The Xbox Live Marketplace (XBLM) is a virtual market designed for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console that allows Xbox Live members to download purchased or promotional content. The service offers movie and game trailers, Video Store, game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, Xbox Originals, downloadable content such as map packs, gamer pictures, and Xbox 360 Dashboard themes.

The Spring 2007 update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard relocated the Marketplace to its own "blade" in order to bring more attention to the service and make it more accessible to users.

Microsoft Points

Microsoft Points are used as scrip in the Xbox Live Marketplace, which includes the Xbox Live Arcade. These points may be purchased with a credit card through the Xbox Live Marketplace, or redeemed from gift cards purchased at retail locations. Microsoft Points are universal across the globe, and their use allows content to be priced independent of actual currency, eliminating conversion factors for every purchase.

Xbox Live Arcade

The Xbox Live Arcade service was re-launched beginning with the release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005. The Arcade service is integrated with the Dashboard user interface, allowing for distribution through the Microsoft Points. Arcade titles on the Xbox 360 support accurate and up-to-date leaderboards, with high scores linked to a player's Gamertag. Players can see where they stand in the Xbox Live community, take a look at the records set by the world's top-ranked players, or see how they match up against individuals on their friends list. Titles can also contribute to a player's Xbox Live Gamerscore.

Xbox Originals

On December 4, 2007 Microsoft launched a new download service entitled "Xbox Originals" which allows Xbox Live users to download Xbox games directly to their hard disks. These titles cost 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD) each.cite web| author=Brandon Boyer|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2007-11-13|accessdate=2007-11-13|title=Microsoft To Launch Downloadable Xbox Game Campaign|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16234 ]

Launch titles for the service were ', "Fable", "Psychonauts", ', "", "Fuzion Frenzy" and "Indigo Prophecy". In Japan a slightly different set of launch titles were released including "Puyo Pop Fever" and "Magatama". [cite web| author=Luke Plunkett|publisher=Kotaku|date=2007-11-14|accessdate=2007-11-14|title=Japan Gets Different Xbox Originals Lineup|url=http://kotaku.com/gaming/xbox-originals/japan-gets-different-xbox-originals-lineup-322469.php ]

Video Store

The Video Store (originally Video Marketplace) is an online service operated by Microsoft that is used to distribute television shows and movies to Xbox 360 owners. The service was launched in USA on November 22, 2006 via Xbox Live. Initial content partners include Paramount Pictures, CBS, TBS, MTV Networks, UFC, NBC, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Other movie studios have since supported the service including Lionsgate Films and Walt Disney Pictures as announced at E3 2007. [cite web | url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/events/e32007/articles/disneystudiosnowonmarketplace.htm | title=E3 2007 - Walt Disney Studios Now on Xbox LIVE Marketplace | date=2007-07-10] At CES 2008, MGM, ABC, the Disney Channel and Toon Disney announced their support for the service. [cite web | url=http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/06/bill-gates-live-at-his-12th-and-final-ces-keynote/ | title=Bill Gates: live at his 12th and final CES keynote | last=Block | first=Ryan | date=2008-01-06] At the present time, the service is available to users in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, France and Germany.

Various films and TV shows are available for purchase in the Video Store, including both past and present series, such as "Star Trek" and "". [cite web | url=http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/nov06/11-22LiveTVMoviesPR.mspx | title=First Wave of TV Shows and Movies on Xbox Live | accessdate=2006-11-24] TV shows will be saved permanently while movies are only "rentals"; they will become unwatchable 24 hours after initial viewing or 14 days after purchase.

At launch, the Video Store encountered widespread problems such as lengthy download times, duplicate billing for the same content, and downloads that could not complete, or for which users would have had to repay to complete. [cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/6162310.html?tag=latestnews;title;1 | title=Tech problems hit XBL video marketplace | accessdate=2006-11-27]

On March 6, 2007, the "South Park" episode "Good Times with Weapons" was available for free download; however, this episode was free only for the HDTV version until April 3, 2007. Starting on March 13, 2007, all episodes from "South Park"'s 11th season were offered uncensored. Also, starting on July 26, 2007, the pilot episode of "Jericho" was available for download free of charge for both the Standard and HD versions.

On the web

Xbox Live Pipeline was a Flash-based website launched on October 12, 2006 that allowed users to view content available for download on Xbox Live from their PC. [cite web| author=César A. Berardini|publisher=TeamXbox|date=2006-10-12|accessdate=2008-05-29|title=Xbox Live Pipeline: Browse Live Marketplace from your PC|url=http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/11982/Xbox-Live-Pipeline-Browse-Live-Marketplace-from-your-PC/ ] As of the beginning of 2007, the Xbox Live Pipeline website redirects to the standard Xbox site, which now contains most of the functionality of Pipeline.

The Marketplace Ticker is a replacement for the now-defunct Xbox Live Pipeline. The Xbox Live Marketplace Ticker allows users to view the latest demos, trailers, "gamer pics", themes, games, TV shows and movies. The ticker displays the availability, price, and information of items that can be downloaded from the Marketplace. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|accessdate=2008-05-29|title=Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Marketplace - The Latest Xbox LIVE Marketplace News|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/marketplace/ticker.htm ]

Larry Hryb (Xbox Live's "Major Nelson") frequently posts alerts of downloadable content on his blog. [cite web|publisher=Larry Hryb|accessdate=2008-05-29|title=Xbox Lives Major Nelson|url=http://www.majornelson.com/ ]

Criticism

Most complaints and criticisms leveled at the Xbox Live service concern the Xbox Live Marketplace. Specific areas include the following:

Problems with replacement consoles

Per Marketplace design, the digital rights management license for downloaded content is tied to both a specific user, as well as to a specific console. This means that to access the content, the user either needs to be signed on to Xbox Live using their Gamertag, or be playing on the original console the content was purchased on. [cite web|url= http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/personality/elle/20060814-shoptilyoudrop.htm|title=Xbox.com "Shop 'till you Drop" (subsection):Usage restrictions|accessdate=2007]

As a result, users with replacement consoles (either as a result of a warranty claim, or due to an upgrade to the Xbox 360 Elite model) cannot use previously downloaded content without being connected to Xbox Live. This has the effect of restricting usage of purchased content when no Internet connection is available. An additional wrinkle is added when there are multiple accounts on one console. In this case, all accounts can normally share content when it was downloaded on that system. However, if the system is replaced, then only the actual Xbox Live account to which the content is tied can make use of it (a workaround exists whereby the non-purchasing gamertag can use the content, but only if the original purchasing gamertag is signed into Xbox Live as a secondary profile).

Microsoft's original attempts to resolve these issues were limited to transferring licenses to consoles replaced under warranty. This required contacting Microsoft support, and the console must have been replaced through Microsoft itself or a warranty from the retailer where it was originally purchased. License transfers could not be performed in the case of a voluntary upgrade (e.g., if the user purchased an Xbox 360 Elite to replace their old console). Microsoft support states the license transfer process takes 20-30 days, however users have found that it can take much longer.

As of June 2008, Microsoft has released an [http://www.xbox.com/drm online tool] that allows users to transfer licenses from the console where they were originally purchased to another. This is done in a two-step process, where all licenses are first migrated on the server side, and then downloaded onto the new console. To prevent abuse, this process can only be performed once a year. Licenses remain bound to the Gamertag regardless, so users who store their profiles on portable memory units can continue to use purchased content on any console when signed into the service.

Pricing

Price consistency and whether some content should be available free of charge has also been a source of criticism related to the Xbox Live Marketplace. A notable incident was Microsoft charging for a "Gears of War" map pack that developer Epic desired to provide at no cost (although it was made free four months later in September 2007). [cite web|url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3159109|title=Gears of War Map Pack Live on Thursday|accessdate=2007-07-06] Exacerbating the controversy, "Game Informer" made claims that Microsoft "forced" companies to charge for content the company itself wanted to distribute for free. [cite web|url=http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5359&Itemid=2|title=www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5359&Itemid=2 |accessdate=2007-07-06] In this case, Microsoft Publishing was responsible for setting the price, with this not actually being a policy of the Xbox team or Xbox Live Marketplace as was implied. Free content is indeed possible, but with the exception of the Xbox Live Arcade game, "Aegis Wing", most of the free content is promotional in nature, such as the Xbox Live Arcade "Yaris" game.

Content Region Controls

After the Spring 2007 dashboard update, Microsoft increased the security on the regional content restrictions. [cite web | url=http://www.xbox365.com/news.cgi?id=GGiLrdLGGi05051635 | title=Microsoft to Tighten Up Xbox Live Marketplace Region Controls|publisher=Xbox 365|date=2007-05-05] This made obtaining entertainment content for international markets impossible, while the US market has a substantial offering in comparison. Even some free content, such as downloadable extras for retail games, is impossible to obtain in certain regions, despite there being no legal or censorship problems (an example of this would be the second Gears of War map pack; while the first pack was initially available worldwide for free, the Spring 2007 update made both unavailable to many Xbox 360 owners).

Critics of the International marketplaces want Microsoft to deliver quality content world-wide, or at the very least offer local content on a region by region basis.Fact|date=February 2008

References

External links

* [http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/marketplace/default.htm Official Xbox Live Marketplace Website]


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