The Xbox Live Marketplace that we’ve become so familiar with over all these years has finally been rebranded as the new Xbox Games Store just a couple of months ahead of the Xbox One’s launch.
A move like this from Microsoft has been expected ever since the initial announcement that they would be getting rid of their Microsoft Points system in favour of straight real-currency transactions. This also brings it in line with the Xbox Video Store and the Xbox Music Store, creating a more uniform branding for the Xbox’s media offerings.
It’s been just short of eight years since the Xbox Live Marketplace debuted (back in November 2005), so this abrupt change might take a little bit of getting used to for people who have been loyal to the console for all this time, but fret not because very little has actually changed. You can even still find the new Games Store and the old Live Marketplace address of marketplace.xbox.com!
The new name also brings a bit of a redesign with it, which just makes it easier to find games you might be interested in after the new console launches. Games are now grouped by platform, with separate sections for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Mobile, and Web games all in place. Not only does this show how Microsoft are trying to connect all of your gaming devices, but it also suggests that Microsoft have plans to continue supporting the Xbox 360 long after the Xbox One has launched.
The sudden rebranding does seem a little bit strange, all things considered. We knew that Microsoft had plans to drop their Microsoft Points for straight currency transactions, and they launched that program with little warning to their audiences. Now they’ve suddenly rebranded their store as well.
Microsoft are usually a lot more open about their policies, but ever since the Xbox One announcement, they’ve seem quite closed off from their audiences, with lots of sudden back-pedalling. Whether they’re just trying to fix the damage from the PR disaster that followed after they announced the Xbox One, or if they have some more subversive plans, remains to be seen.