New Xbox 360 Game Charges You By The Hour

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.



  1. It’s pretty awful how Micros

    • Damn iPhones to hell! Anyway: …oft aren’t criticised for the amount of ads on the dashboard for paying customers, and this dumb scheme will probably go uncriticised as well. Bewildering that people would want to rent a song.

  2. Wish I could pay for many games by the hour.

    The number of games I’ve played for less than an hour would form a list so long it would break the Internet, or maybe this page.

    • Fair point, wonder if it would work cheaper with some games lol.

    • Anything can break TSA as it’s held together with soaky biscuits, 6 year old gum, the core of an apple and gaffre tape. :O

    • Lol, agreed. I’ve lost count how many games I’ve played for about an hour and have never played them again. In fact, when I used to review stuff, we did a feature called “60 minutes later…”

  3. They should at least offer the chance to buy permanent access for the price of a full game or something.

  4. I have no words to describe how awful this is but I will try.

    They expect people to throw money at a karaoke game when they won’t be able to reuse those songs whenever they want without having to pay again? Why can’t people just buy the tracks they want so they can use them again. Renting karaoke is not something I think is going to take off but then again it all comes down to the price and how much people have had to drink.

    • I can see lots of stuff next-gen being like this.

      • Don’t traumatise PLEASE!

        I’m already ‘dealing’ with my own issues in this generation T_T

  5. WHAT!? That is the most stupid thing i’ve heard in recent years. In fact, i expected EA to do this first. No-one will buy it as paying to play every hour is both a ripoff and ruins your experience and god forbid if there is a powercut as they would probably charge you for that hour. I really hope it bombs as i fear it could spread if it succeeds. :S

  6. I don’t think this is that bad, it’s a decent solution for people that only want to play this game for a bit of fun with friends round for the evening.

    They should have longer term prices available though, say 1 year.

  7. They should just be innovative and do a Black Metal karaoke game or heck some crazy Japanese stuff from Yakuza.

  8. So you get charged by every hour. Best to stick to SingStar because that game involves singing. Yeah, great luck with that Microsoft. Sony made it FTP.

  9. Great idea, obviously not for everyone, but I imagine that most people would suit having access to thousands of songs for short periods of time (i.e. when they’re actually playing the game) for nominal fees.

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