Microsoft's New Xbox Game Charges By The Hour

Microsoft very quietly announced a new Xbox Live Arcade game today called Karaoke. On the surface, it sounds rather harmless; partnering with The Karaoke Channel, it lets users stream around 8000 songs from a central library, and you can use SmartGlass to queue up tracks and save a favourites list.

The weirdness comes in when you learn how you pay for the thing. It's not an up-front purchase. And you don't pay for songs. Instead, there's a small rotating library of free songs. To access the entire library, you pay, by throwing down for blocks of 2, 6 or 24 hours.

In other words, you're renting the game. Or paying by the hour. However you want to put it. It's certainly a novel approach to a console game. Let's see if it actually pans out (I have my doubts, since for some reason it doesn't support Kinect, meaning you need a compatible microphone).


    I guess it's cheaper if you have a xbox to buy a 24hour pack for a party then it is to hire a real machine.

    It's something that you'd pull out for parties if you don't have singstar lying around the place.

    So it works the same way as the Karaoke game that's included for free with Japanese Wii Us?

      Keep in mind, that the Japanese Wii U version, while free, requires you to pay every time you play it.

        Yeah, I guess including the word free there was a bit misleading. I mean it has the same pay-per-time-used system. Not saying it's better, just saying it's the same.

        edit: Maybe I am incorrectly reporting here, or other media outlets are behind the ball... but they all seem to be suggesting Microsoft is the first to introduce this sort of system on a console. Annoying. Maybe Nintendo should have released this globally.

        Last edited 20/11/12 11:22 pm

    basically it works like a real karaoke bar IN YOUR OWN HOME! THE CONVENIENCE!

    So its free to play, only you get a limited selection of songs, but if you pay; you get to access to over 8000 songs for say.... a night?

    Sounds rather fair to me, most people probably don't want to Karaoke for more than 2-6 hours anyway.

    Karaoke is one of the few types of games I could see this model working for. You can play Guitar Hero etc by yourself, but the Singstar type games are very much a party type of thing.

    Whats the stream/play/lag time?
    I mean, if Ive paid for a two hour session do I then select a song, wait for it to download, then get to sing it? Then select the next, wait to download, then sing? That way sounds like a lot of waiting and not playing.
    Or, can I select a bunch of songs, build up a play list, download them all so its ready to go. Then pay for two hours and away I go?

    Without looking into the specifics, it actually sounds like a pretty good idea.

    Besides, to call it a game is a bit of a misnomer. It turns an Xbox into a kareoke machine, and kareoke machines at pubs and clubs are often pay by the hour.

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