Will 360 Games on Demand worry retail?

Microsoft insists that its new Xbox 360 Games on Demand service won’t dampen retail sales.

But at E3, where the new service was unveiled, the firm admitted it hadn’t yet decided how long – if at all – a wait there will be between a digital release and its boxed brethren.

Last week the format-holder unveiled the service, which offers an array of back catalogue games for the 360 from EA, 2K and other publishers for download.

These titles, previously disc-only products, will replace the Originals service which made old Xbox titles available for download.

New Games on Demand titles will be added to the service, available in Xbox Live territories around the world including the UK, on a weekly basis. Customers can pay for the titles with a credit card or Microsoft Points.

It’s all about more choice to consumers,” said Xbox Live rep Scott Austin. The service offers users the chance to provide score-based reviews and access to add-on content for each game.

But as for whether games will still be allowed to ‘premiere’ at retail, he admitted: We’re not sure how that’s going to work – we’ve got new technology and we’re going to see how it works.

Ultimately it just gives convenience and easy access to loads of the great content available for 360 – people can buy games, and get the great retail experience from their consoles in the comfort of their own homes.”

He added that publishers were briefed on the service prior to E3, and most of them are ready for the August launch of Games on Demand.

Xbox has always been the leader in digital distribution and this is just the next step in that.”

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