According to several developers that we have spoken with recently, Microsoft is going to dip its toe into the “free-to-play microtransaction model” soon. The company has apparently been talking to developer partners about free-to-play possibilities.
The microtransaction model using Xbox Live on the Xbox 360 would allow players to play free-to-play titles and then purchase upgrades, additional in game items, or premium upgrades with Microsoft Points. The cost in Microsoft Points is small for these so called “microtransactions.” Microsoft is apparently baking in the ability for microtransactions to be supported by new code.
Of course, Microsoft does not comment speculation, but with Valve testing free-to-play, it only stands to reason that Microsoft would want to test the revenue possibilities of a microtransaction stream. Developers that we spoke with all seemed to have at least some interest in such a model.
Some analysts that we talked with indicated to us that they believe Microsoft would want to examine the possibility and see if it is something that could work on the Xbox 360. Many would argue that the company has already been testing this with such things as avatar clothing accessories. Of course, this goes significantly beyond that. Expect to hear more from Microsoft about this soon.