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MS to license X360 peripherals

Where will your money go today?

Manufacturers seeking to release peripherals for the Xbox 360 will have to pay royalties to Microsoft on each unit sold, with a new security system on the console preventing the connection of unlicensed devices.

As a result, only Microsoft-authorised joypads, steering wheels and other such devices will be released, according to a abridged version of a new contract between the software giant and peripheral maker Mad Catz which was released as part of a Mad Catz financial filiing this week.

The system - which Microsoft claims is designed to ensure that customers get "the best experience possible" - seems to be an extension of the logo programme that was used on Xbox, where Microsoft put a seal of approval on certain third party peripherals.

It's traditional for manufacturers of consoles to demand a royalty on each unit of software sold, but more unusual for them to ask for royalties from add-on hardware as well - although Apple recently initiated a similar plan for accessories for the iPod.

Interestingly, the Mad Catz contract also specifies that the firm is only permitted to make wired controllers for the Xbox 360, seemingly locking it out creating other acceessories such as wireless controllers, memory units or add-on hard drives.

It's not clear whether Microsoft will allow other third parties to make a more expansive range of peripherals, or if it is planning to offer first-party versions of those accessories only.

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