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July 11, 2007 | Comments Off on Blog RSS


Microsoft: Were Not Forcing Paid Xbox Live Content

Shane Kim , the head of Microsoft Game Studios, set the record straight on Friday night about the companys policy towards pricing on extra game content offered through its Xbox Live online service.

First, some backstory:The kerfuffle erupteda month agowhen Epic, the creators of the hugely popular sci-fi shooter Gears of War, said it would releasenew multiplayer maps for the game on Xbox Live. Epic employees said they had wanted to give away the new content, but Microsoft, which published the game, nixed the idea andis charging gamers about $10 for the add-ons.

The move chafed at a lot of Gears fans and added to worries that they would be nickle-and-dimed to deathforupdatesthey haveoftengotten forfree in the past. Discussion raged on video game blogs about whetherMicrosoft was barring the practice of offering free game content altogether.

Nonsense, Kim said.

We are not forcing anyone to do anything, Kim told Reuters in an interview when asked if it was requiring publishers to charge for game content. He went on to echo remarks made byEpic vice president Mark Reinexplaining the different businessstrategies at play.

What was lost in that conversation was that Epic likes making money, too. So the right way to make money to them is to offer free content to attract more customers in the long run, Kim said.

If we continue to just give away content for our first-party titles, our third-party partners will be in an uproar, Kim said. We cant just do whatever the hell we want with regards to content.

Kim spoke with Reuters during a preview event for Halo 3, the upcoming installment of the flagship franchise for theXbox. You can readthe stories on the Halo 3 sneak peakandKims plans to tackle non-hardcore gamers here and here .