Microsoft lets users subscribe or re-up to Xbox Live through the online marketplace, but most of them still come through the retail chain. In fact, the company has revealed that more than two-thirds of the European subscription rates come from retail partners. As a result, Microsoft isn't planning to rock the boat against retailers with digital sales.
"There are no plans in terms of that kind of day and date parity," Xbox Live EMEA marketing manager Robin Burrowes told MCV. "We are very respectful to the retail environment, in that we have a window between the release of a retail game and the digital one. There's no immediate plans to change that."
This comes amid a general tenor from analysts that we're only a generation or two away from digital distribution making up the bulk of sales, so Microsoft is exploring those options. "We are looking to introduce new digital innovations to drive more business," said Burrowes. "We've been testing electronic software distribution in a couple of places. We will be testing point-of-sale activation, which is similar to buying cards in store and being able to redeem that code at the point of purchase. We are introducing new digital tokens and are working very closely with retailers. 68 per cent of Europe's Xbox Live subscription acquisitions come from retail."
Burrowes also noted that some Kinect games this holiday season will feature codes included, and subscription cards may pack in some free Microsoft points.