Free-to-play games supported by micro-transactions on Xbox 360 are "inevitable", according to one developer. In a recent chat on Eurogamer Todd Harris, the head of High-Rez Studios, says that Microsoft is in talks about letting free-to-play games like Tribes Ascend be allowed on its Xbox Live Arcade game download service.
The idea is that games can either be monetised by in-game items or premium upgrade costs. Xbox 360 will incorporate a micro-transactions service using Microsoft Points, the report claimed. As of now, the Xbox 360 version of Tribes: Ascend is on the back burner until Microsoft sorts its free-to-play Xbox Live policy out.
Discussions revolve around how free-to-play games will be updated through Xbox Live and how gamers will be able to play without spending any money. Harris says, "It's really just the degree to which the free-to-play model and, even more specifically, constant updates are at - kind of what level of support there is for Xbox, or even PlayStation at this point," Harris explained." "So the ability to patch frequently, the ability to have it be free-to-play so users can get a taste without any fee. At least from our conversations, both Sony and Microsoft are moving there strategically but there are still some things to be worked out on both the business side and the technical side and the certification side regarding frequency of patches.
Harris added that Microsoft is seeing where the industry is going, "It's inevitable that Microsoft will move towards that because the industry is moving towards that, and once that groundwork has been laid we would be in a better position to consider Tribes: Ascend for Xbox." For its part, Xbox senior product manager David Dennis didn't comment specifically about free-to-play game plans for the console, saying only, "We're always looking at different models and different ways we can work with partners to bring content out."
In the meantime, Tribes Ascend is still scheduled to be released for the PC later this year. Attendees of QuakeCon in Dallas next week will be the first members of the public to play a build of the game.