Xbox 360 Gets Wolfenstein Demo, System Update and Three Cheaper XBLA Games

A flurry of minor Xbox 360 tidbits emerged from platformer holder Microsoft this morning, so, in the interest of efficiency, we're rolling all of it together into a big news katamari. First up is word that a 578MB demo for Raven's Wolfenstein, which hit stores back in August, is now available in the Xbox Live Marketplace. As usual, it's exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members for a week--Silver folk will be able to give it a go on September 30.

But before you can snag the demo, you'll need to apply the new Xbox 360 system update that hit this morning, which you'll be prompted to do the next time you connect to Xbox Live. According to Microsoft's Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb, "there are no new features or changes in this update" as "this update is preparation for additional system enhancements (Facebook/Twitter/Last.FM) that will arrive later this year."

And speaking of Xbox Live, three previously released Xbox Live Arcade games today joined the "Arcade Hits" program, dropping their prices to 400 MS Points ($5) each:

  • Brain Challenge: It's more than just a game, it's a complete mental fitness challenge! With twenty different brain teasing games in five challenging categories (Memory, Visual, Logic, Math, and Focus), "Brain Challenge" is sure to bolster your mental wellness. Published by Microsoft and developed by Gameloft, "Brain Challenge" is rated E for Everyone by the ERSB and is now value-priced at 400 Microsoft Points.
  • Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting: Go head-to-head in classic "Street Fighter II" fashion and enjoy an entirely new "Quarter mode" (four players in a room, winner stays, losers rotate through) specifically created for Xbox Live Arcade. "Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting" is published by Capcom, rated T for Teen and is now value-priced at 400 Microsoft Points.
  • 3D Ultra MiniGolf Adventures: Tee off and putt your way through 36 zany holes of mini golf mania. This best-selling Xbox LIVE Arcade game comes with a customizable course editor and multiplayer for the ultimate mini golf adventure. Published by Sierra Online and developed by Wanako Studios, the game is rated E for Everyone by the ERSB and is now value-priced at 400 Microsoft Points.
  • From The Chatty
    • reply
      September 23, 2009 9:05 AM

      If they would have threated potential customers like this a few years ago, people would have gone mad.

      "You have to wait before you can see if you would like to buy our stuff" *arrogant smirk*
      It is marketing, it is like they make you pay for commercials. There is no point really, a demo is made so people will get hooked on it and want to buy the full game, and they make it so you have to wait for it as if you want something from them.

      I'm not a console player and I don't really care as much as it may seem through this post but it just comes to my mind from time to time and I have to laugh a little. Same with pre order exclusive demos.

      • reply
        September 23, 2009 10:18 AM

        Actually this is a method of monetizing demos such that game developers don't end up footing the bill. As I'm sure you've noticed, almost nothing gets onto XBox Live without a cost associated with it. Besides the desire to keep a balanced "value" system, this also insures that all resources for hosting and downloading assets are paid for, to some extent, by the fees.

        Demos, by their nature, have no associated download fees. (There's no sticker price to take a 30% cut off to pay for the storage and transmission.) Of course, adding a price tag to demos would be insufferable, but it's also unwelcome to have the developers pay the costs to provide a demo (They would, of course, just not make demos in the general case.)

        So they exclusive period of access for Gold subscribers, this is how they monetize the demos. By limiting initial access to the demos to paying customers, then the costs of providing demos can be analyzed as a function of advertising and retention for the Gold subscribers and the income that they provide.

        Or, simply put, "It costs money to distribute demos on XBox Live. The Gold subscribers pay for that distribution cost and get a couple weeks of exclusive access as a direct result."

        • reply
          September 23, 2009 10:48 AM

          It also costs money to develop them, but then again: Most advertising costs money. And the way they handle it with these exclusive demos, it looks like they are so kind to give something to the players, so they need to wait for it and beg and wack the tail until they throw the bit. In reality, they can't survive without sales, and that attitude comes across a little cocky.

          I'm not getting at the gold subscribers, I just don't like the trend of it. Also the demo already being late, now silver people have to wait even longer. They may as well be like "Okay if you don't want to show me the game, then fuck it, I'll play something else." By that time, a lot of people will either have bought it (those who didn't care that much for a demo in the first place) or lost interest.

          • reply
            September 23, 2009 11:22 AM

            Demos aren't that important a marketing tool though...a lot of big games never had demos.

      • reply
        September 23, 2009 10:27 AM

        I only care about id Software's games when looking at what Activision offers, so can't speak for everything. But afaik, Doom 3 demo came about a month later, same with Quake 4, and now Wolfenstein. Can someone confirm an early (pre-release) demo of a recent Activision game?

        I might get flamed for what I am about to say, but at least I am honest. If a company do not release an "early" demo for a game I am interested in, I would simply torrent it. So, in a way, piracy is practical even (more like especially) if you are a loyal customer.

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