Microsoft is bringing the free-to-play Happy Wars and Ascend: New Gods to the Xbox 360 later this year.
Free-to-play, which is a bit like shareware for the modern era, is a huge part of both the PC and the mobile gaming markets. It's a different story with consoles, however; the PlayStation 3 only recently embraced the concept and the Xbox 360 still has none. But the 360 situation is about to change, as Microsoft is gearing up to bring the online fighting game Happy Wars as the action-RPG Ascend: New Gods to the system later this year.
"We're always looking at ways to push the boundaries of the console and our digital platform. Bringing true free-to-play gaming experiences to Xbox 360 is a natural extension of that," a Microsoft rep told OXM. "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."
There is a catch, albeit not a particular onerous one: The games will only be available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, since many of the planned free-to-play release are multiplayer, a feature which is only available with a Gold level subscription. The rep added that free-to-play games on the 360 "will leverage the Microsoft Points system," presumably for in-game item purchases and other microtransactions.
Happy Wars, the first free-to-play games on the Xbox 360, is scheduled to come out sometime in September, while Ascend: New Gods is expected to follow "in several months."