Xbox Live to charge for demos?

New OXM product suggests so.

The US Official Xbox Magazine plans to offer coverdisc content, including exclusive demos, to Xbox Live Marketplace users for a fee.

Editor-in-chief Francesca Reyes announces "OXM Digital" in the September issue, currently heading to subscribers (and picked up on by GameSetWatch), and writes: "Think of it as a digital digest of our mag, but with lots of exclusive interactive content, including gamer pics, themes, videos, galleries...stuff we can't do in print."

"OXM Digital also sports exclusive demos," Reyes added. It's believed that these demos will be offered exclusively on the coverdisc and as part of OXM Digital for a limited time before being made available to Xbox Live users for free.

The package will be sold to Xbox Live users for 200 Microsoft points (USD 2.50 / GBP 1.70 / EUR 2.33). It's not clear if it will be available exclusively to US gamers or a wider audience.

OXM's Dan Amrich, writing on the official Xbox forums, later clarified that OXM Digital and the OXM demo disc were "being designed as different beasts", despite the crossover of content.

The US OXM, published by Future, has covered Xbox and Xbox 360 with official backing from Microsoft since November 2001. Along with its British counterpart, its coverdiscs sometimes host playable demo content that's held back from general Xbox Live Marketplace release in order to stimulate sales.

This has led to accusations of cynicism in some quarters, where it's felt that the monthly or annual Xbox Live Gold subscription should guarantee users advance access to all demos.

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