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Six big-name games at launch, and more on the way.

Each of the three next-generation consoles sports a marketplace for downloadable games -- Nintendo's Virtual Console, Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, and Sony's PlayStation Network -- and each console sports some manner of backwards compatibility to the previous generation.

Microsoft is looking to expand on its previous online game offerings with the Xbox 360's Fall Dashboard Update which is scheduled for a December 2 release. The new update brings with it a half-dozen full-version downloadable original Xbox titles. The UK-based gaming site Computer and Video Games posted an article earlier today and quickly pulled it from their site -- but not before the news had escaped.

According to the leaked article, the first wave of titles includes:

  • Burnout 3
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex
  • Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  • Fable
  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Indigo Prophecy
No details were provided with regards to content protection, but it stands to reason that Microsoft will implement a similar manner of DRM to the current Live Arcade games. At a cost of 1200 Microsoft points, approximately $15 USD, the price for a downloaded game is about in line with what one could expect to pay for a used disc from a second-hand source.

In addition to the six games listed above, Microsoft plans to re-release more Xbox content on the Marketplace -- so those gamers who missed out on the earlier adventures of Master Chief will no doubt be able to enjoy Halo 2 after only a short delay.

Digital distribution on this scale does pose two major concerns. One concern is the sheer volume of bandwidth that will be consumed -- in the past, major demo releases have crippled Xbox Live's ability to function to various degrees, and at several gigabytes each, eager gamers downloading a compressed image of a full DVD will no doubt cause a similar impact.

The other concern is the size of these images. Users with the standard 20GB hard drive may find themselves only able to squeeze two or three Xbox games amongst the rest of their demos, videos, and trailers before finding that they're simply out of space.





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