Xbox Adds New Features to Marketplace

xbox_360_liveAs we reported last week, XBox Live got an update this week featuring the Avatar Marketplace, Games on Demand and Ratings. We’ve decided to put together a list of the newest features, and show you some of the things added with this update.

Avatar Marketplace

The most anticipated addition is undoubtedly the Avatar Marketplace. Instead of waiting for small incremental additions to the Avatar clothing options, XBox Live subscribers will be able to purchase clothing, costumes, accessories and props for their Avatar to wear and show off to their friend’s list and appearing in games likes 1 vs. 100 or Bomberman Live.

For day one, Avatar Marketplace came with a large variety of items from eight different games like Gears of War 2, Halo 3 and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, three different clothing brands like Adidas, and two clothing styles, Steampunk and Recessionista. While there is a large variety to choose from, some items feel very expensive and may be overpriced since this Marketplace is still trying to learn its pricing structure.

For a complete COG Armor and Helmet set from Gears of War 2, it will cost a player $6.00 total. That much money on virtual items may seem like too much for those who have never tried games like Second Life or Playstation’s Home. But, like buying the Collector’s Edition of a game, these purchase decisions will come down to how big of a fan someone is of a series or title, like dropping $5.00 for your Avatar to have a lightsaber to play with. T

he nice thing about props especially is that they all include special animations specific to the item. The Avatar will wave the lightsaber around like a sword or use the giant cotton swab like he is on American Gladiators playing Joust. Below are some examples of what is available today in the Avatar Marketplace along with their prices just to give you a rough idea.

Gears of War 2 Avatar Items

Cog Armor – 320 Microsoft points ($4.00)

COG Helmet – 160 Microsoft points ($2.00)

COG Tee (Black T-Shirt) – 80 Microsoft points ($1.00)

Crimson Omen Baseball Cap – 80 Microsoft points ($1.00)

Crimson Omen Hoodie – 160 Microsoft points ($2.00)

Crimson Omen Skate Shoes – 160 Microsoft points ($2.00)

Crimson Omen Skull Cap – 80 Microsoft points ($1.00)

Crimson Omen Tee (White T-Shirt) – 80 Microsoft points ($1.00)

Locust “Cyclops” Helmet – 160 Microsoft points ($2.00)

Locust Drone Armor – 320 Microsoft points ($4.00)

Ratings on XBox Live Marketplace

Ratings are also a great addition for players and will be a tremendous asset for those new to XBox Live Marketplace. With so many XBox Live Arcade titles to choose from, it’d take a new player days to download and even spend a few minutes on every title. Now instead, they can sort by top rated items by the XBox community to see what the best of the best is. They can also see if a game that has caught their eye has gotten positive feedback from the Live community. Below are some of the most popular downloads based on only a few hours of voting.

Current Top Rated Items on XBox Live (as of Tuesday at 4 PM Eastern)

castle crashers

Castle Crashers (XBLA)

XBLACastle Crashers – 4936 votes

Games on DemandThe Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – 2920 votes

Indie GamesMiner Dig Deep – 283 votes

DemosRainbow Six Vegas – 551 votes

Games on Demand

In addition to the games listed in the previous article, a few new games were added since as seen below.

Battlefield: Bad Company

Bioshock

Dance Dance Revolution Universe

Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore

Ridge Racer 6

Sonic the Hedgehog

Of all the games added, almost all have been top sellers for the system or highly rated (with the exception of Sonic the Hedgehog). The only questionable games are Dance Dance Revolution Universe and Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore, which both require peripherals like the dance pad or microphone to properly enjoy the game. DDR with a regular controller just is not a fun experience.

Addition of Achievement Progress

Now in the My XBox slider, there has been an additional panel added showing total achievement progress. It tells players their total Gamerscore and total number of achievements on their Gamertag compared to the total possible they could have achieved from all their games played. It also tells players how many of the games they have completed all achievements on. Now those of us who rented Avatar: The Last Airbender will never be able to live it down.

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