Free-to-play games coming to Xbox soon?

Developer reckons Microsoft ready to exlplore freebie games options
Darren Allan

August 1, 2011

The latest console industry whispers are on the subject of freebie games and how they might be landing on Xbox Live before too long.

This prospect has certainly been mentioned before, and now the developer of the upcoming free-to-play shooter Tribes: Ascend, Hi-Rez, claims Microsoft is ready to relax its rules on Live freebies.

Talking to EuroGamer, boss at Hi-Rez Todd Harris said that MS was ready to follow the industry trend, and that free games supported by micro-transactions (in-game items or packs you can buy) was “inevitable” on Xbox Live.

Micro-transactions are, of course, already used by many paid-for games, with extra DLC maps, or for example extra Rock Band songs which can be purchased.

Tribes: Ascend is a freebie itself which Hi-Rez hopes to bring to the Xbox (alongside the PC) when Microsoft sorts its policy out.

Ascend is based on the classic Tribes released way back in the late nineties, which involved team deathmatch with jetpacks and all manner of cool little vehicles. It was pretty much the sci-fi forerunner to Battlefield.

Of course, the complication with free-to-play on the Xbox is that some games – certainly Tribes: Ascend – involve online multiplayer, and you need to be a Live Gold subscriber to play any game online. Making it not free-to-play…

We shall see what the future holds, but Microsoft certainly made some positive noises when EuroGamer raised the issue with them.

Xbox Senior Product Manager David Dennis told them: “There are different ways you can deploy or distribute games using different types of business models and we’re always open to talking to partners.”


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