Microsoft has released a mandatory patch for Xbox 360 title Dead or Alive 4 that does not add any extra content to the game but instead merely fixes a number of bugs, in a move which seems to contradict the firm's earlier stance on Xbox Live patching.
According to Microsoft the patch, which is automatically downloaded when DOA4 players log on to Xbox Live, is designed to "prepare your Xbox 360 console for future system and title updates." However, no further details have been revealed, and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.
If the patch is indeed designed just to fix bugs and glitches, this could mark the first time that console gamers have had to download such a patch - and may also suggest that DOA4 was released before all bugs had been ironed out. Dead or Alive 4 was originally down to launch alongside Xbox 360 in Japan but did not appear until December 29th, with a European release following on January 27th.
There is also the issue of storing the patch data. For Xbox 360 owners who purchased the hard drive bundle, this won't be a problem - but those who bought the "core" system will need to save the patch to memory card and ensure it is inserted at all times when playing DOA4.
With Microsoft keeping quiet on the subject, the question of whether Xbox Live is now to be used as a means of patching bugged games - as well as offering extra game content and online play - remains unanswered.