Redmond (WA) - Timed to correspond with the five-year anniversary of Xbox Live, Microsoft has announced it will begin adding original Xbox titles to the Xbox 360's Live Marketplace for users to download to their hard drive.
Xbox Live first burst onto the scene in 2002, a year or so after the release of the original Xbox console. Since then it has gained around eight million users, completely dwarfing any other non-PC online gaming service.
On December 4, Microsoft will release a firmware update for the Xbox 360, which will include in part the ability to download specially chosen Xbox games from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Confirmed titles include Crimson Skies, Fable, Psychonauts, and of course Halo. The games will be priced at 1,200 Microsoft points ($15).
"On its fifth birthday, Xbox Live truly is the place for hanging out with friends and enjoying downloadable TV shows, movies, videos, game add-ons and now downloadable Xbox games on demand," said the Microsoft VP in charge of Xbox Live John Schappert.
It edges up the competition over digital downloads between Microsoft and Sony. Sony's Playstation 3 online store has been noted for its inclusion of full-length, high-capacity games including the PS3 game Warhawk. Xbox Live previously had been relegated to cheap, small casual game titles.
Microsoft will also be celebrating the five-year anniversary by awarding 500 Microsoft Points to anyone whose current Xbox Live account dates back to 2002. Additionally, beginning tomorrow, all users in the US will be able to download Carcasonne, an Xbox Live Arcade title, for free.