Amazon.com begin selling Xbox Live Arcade games

on May 8, 2009 by Administrator

The place of the traditional retailer is often discussed in regards to the games industry’s future and usually the conclusion is drawn that digital distribution will eventually be its death. Although Amazon.com can hardly be called traditional it would still face many of the same problems, were it to become the norm for consumers to buy directly from the console manufacturer, as is the case with XBLA and the Playstation store. In an effort to counter this, Amazon have pulled off a surprise partnership with Microsoft that allows them to sell individual XBLA games from their own website.

Unlike trial PC services in the past from high street competitors such as Game, Amazon will not host any of the downloads themselves. Instead, the site offers an unlock-code that can then be entered into the Xbox.com homepage or directly through your console on Xbox Live in order to gain access to the title. It is likely that this is due to Microsoft based restrictions, but not hosting the files will also allow Amazon to avoid the cost and hassle of using their own servers. The service should be fairly quick as the code is e-mailed to you upon purchase, but it all still seems a little awkward and time consuming in comparison to buying directly from XBLA. The question of why anyone would want such a service from Amazon then must surely be asked, but the answers are actually quite simple.

For Microsoft there are most likely two reasons why they would want such a deal to go ahead. Firstly, Amazon.com is a huge online retailer with a lot of activity and a wide range of customers. Although XBLA has done well since its launch, many people with the console are still unaware or unsure about the marketplace and how it works. Amazon.com will reach a much larger audience and provide a familiar purchasing system that most people will have used before. The second reason is that Microsoft will look to use this system as a way of keeping Amazon and other retailers on their side whilst the transition to digital content takes place over this, and the next generation of consoles. There is evidence of them doing this in the past with the

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