Later this year, Microsoft will be launching a "Games on Demand" service, where users can download full, proper retail games to their 360s. Exciting! Just don't expect to do it on the same day a game's out at GameStop.
Shane Kim has told Fast Company:
There are a lot of complex issues to deal with here, especially if you start talking about day-and-date release with retail availability—which is not something that we're talking about at all, today. And publishers have to do some technical work in order to enable this. There will be decisions that publishers have to make from a business standpoint. But when it comes to us saying we want Games on Demand to enable day-and-date release of new titles, then there's certainly a lot of work we would need to go through. We're not anywhere close to that world today. We have great relationships with the retail channel—they're important partners. We sell a lot of hardware and software through retail channels. We have to be smart about how we approach this business.
That sound half-assed to you? Sounds half-assed to us. Microsoft had better be pricing these games cheaply if we're going to have to wait for them and forgo the pleasure of having a nice box on the shelf.
Kotaku AU Note: The Games On Demand titles shown at E3 (Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, etc) were all priced at US$20.
Microsoft's Shane Kim on Project Natal and the Xbox 360 Road Map [Fast Company, via Gamasutra]