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Microsoft plans advanced Xbox Live Marketplace transactions

Microsoft has announced plans to further integrate its Xbox Live Marketplace service into games, producing "consumable" items that users must pay for, such as in-game currency.

The controversial strategy could mean that once consumers had purchased a full price title, they would need to fork out more moneyto buy exclusive in-game items.

Differing from content such as expansion modules, extra levels and new characters which have proven to be a hit with players of games like Oblivion, the consumable items would have a limited lifespan. A suit of armour, for example, would eventually disintegrate in-game and the player would have to pay more money to replace it.

Xbox Live Marketplace business manager Rohan Oommen also told the Gamefest audience that the company plans to more comprehensively integrate Marketplace transactions into retail releases.

For example, players may be able to interact with in-game vendors to select required items, before switching to Marketplace to add real cash to complete the transaction - or spend real money on Marketplace to secure the equivalent in in-game currency.

The company has a number of ideas on how best to integrate the service into full price games. However, it's not clear how well consumers will take to the idea of spending more money on perishable game items, having already paid for a full-price game.

Oommen stated that the Marketplace updates were likely to be implemented into the next dashboard update for the Xbox 360, along with a number of changes and enhancements to the user interface.

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