I really wish Microsoft would get its head out of its butt regarding pricing on Xbox Live. Yeah, we get that you make a lot of money on it, but the draconian method by which you determine how items are priced in it prevent some really cool things from happening. Stuff like the Humble Bundle.
If you’re not familiar, the Humble Bundle is a group of independent PC games that is sold on a set-your-own-price model. Just like Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”, you decide how much this group of games is worth and you’re encouraged to pay above the average amount to get even more games. The current bundle, as you see above, gives you five games to start along with a donation to some worthwhile charities. If you pay above $5.37 in this instance, you get two extra games. The customization element of the whole thing might be a bit much for casual game buyers, but the idea that people can, even temporarily, get a few games and support charity at the same time is fantastic.
It’s then unfortunate that Microsoft isn’t really up for something this cool or this radical. This is a company that requires every single item in the Marketplace to be priced. You can’t give away content for free like in-game items or levels, even if you’re doing so on other platforms out of the goodness of your heart, or you’ll lose other critical functionality like Achievements. Microsoft’s also had issues with displaying Xbox Live Indie Games after the latest dashboard rollout, which is no doubt frustrating for a developer that probably doesn’t roll on a lot of cash and certainly don’t have much say to Microsoft when they make sweeping changes that threaten their incomes.
The idea of taking several catalog Xbox Live Arcade titles like Shadow Complex, Undertow, Carcassonne, or Every Extend Extra Extreme and putting them together in a $10-$20 bundle to revive sales, rekindle interest, and even throw in a few bucks toward charity doesn’t sound like a good idea?