Amazon.com is now selling Xbox Live Arcade game codes, becoming the first retailer to offer XBLA games outside of the Xbox Live console.
Amazon's Xbox Live Store offers points cards, subscriptions to Live and XBLA game codes which players can purchase and then use to download games from the Xbox Live Arcade. Microsoft entered into the partnership, Xbox Live Business General Manager Christina DeRosa said, because Amazon "is helping make digital distribution more mainstream." But that seems to be the only reason for doing so at this point, because the pricing structure for Xbox Live Arcade games is virtually identical.
So what's the benefit? According to Joystiq, it's primarily a matter of optics: People who question the security of handing out their credit card information on Xbox Live may feel more comfortable doing so with a "trusted" online retailer like Amazon. The potential benefit to gamers, as one observer pointed out, is the Amazon Visa, which earns cardholders $25 gift certificates for every 2500 points accumulated, money that can now be put toward buying XBLA games "directly."
Whether or not it offers any value over buying XBLA titles directly, Amazon's Xbox Live store could dovetail nicely with its new used game trade-in program. Send in your old crap, get a gift certificate and then buy some new Arcade titles! Check it out for yourself here.