As the industry continues to experiment with free to play games, platform holders are finding more and more ways to get content pushed to gamers for nothing, the business model being to create a steady trickle of small value transactions. Sony tried this with SingStar recently, famously locking the singing game to European XMB dashboards with the base ‘app’ being free but songs cunningly requiring additional purchases.
And now Microsoft are going for a similar trick – Karaoke, the rather obviously titled family game (revealed here), will be free to play – we assume – but in a slightly different twist will charge you by the hour, rather than per song.
Karaoke will feature 8,000 songs (and is a collaboration with The KARAOKE Channel) with the benefit being that you won’t have to wait for them to download, they’ll just start immediately and stream. You can also use SmartGlass to queue additional tracks, which should mean that those into their karaoke will have little barriers to hurdle.
Except, of course, that ongoing cost. “Full access to the entire library is available for blocks of 2, 6 or 24 hours by redeeming Microsoft Points,” says the press release, meaning that you’ll never actually own the songs you download (or whatever that word means these days) – instead you’ll just be able to sing along to them as long as you’ve still got access.
Presumably you’ll also need Xbox LIVE Gold.