New "fees" for online extras are sharply raising the price serious video gamers pay for Xbox 360 games. More than 3 million Xbox Live subscribers pay a $50 annual fee that allows them to play games online against one another. About 3 million more use the service without an annual subscription, taking the total to more than half Xbox users. Through Xbox Live, players can buy maps for fighting terrains and other add-ons that are indispensable to serious gamers, usually at a cost of $10 each. Game levels and maps require a lot less of a game's development staff but can sell for a fair bit of a game's original price.
Pricing the downloads is a tricky science that many game publishers, including Microsoft, are still figuring out as they try to balance profit with the risk of alienating gamers who might feel they are being taken advantage of. Microsoft Xbox Live group product manager Aaron Greenberg said few gamers complained about the add-on features and that the charge helped Microsoft recoup the cost of developing games and running the expensive online service."We are like the complaint department. We hear from the small minority that are not happy," he said.
News source: CNN