The Xbox Live Marketplace started off as a market for gamers to buy simple arcade games for a few bucks a piece and has evolved into something much greater in some opinions and yet much worse in others. I'm going to outline the evolution of the xbox live marketplace and give my personal opinion on it. Feel free to voice your opinions in the form of comments and I'll be more than glad to address them.

The first time I bought Microsoft Points was with the release of Halo 3 I believe. Call of Duty 2 is the first game I remember the option of a map pack; however, I had purchased the later addition which included a free code to get them. Bungie charged me 800 microsoft points to get a couple new maps. They were well worth it. Quality maps in addition to the large number that shipped with the game.

The growing trend in the current time is to ship games with a moderate to low number of maps and just add in maps as it goes. Each Call of Duty game that is launching nowadays seems to have at least two or three map packs, halo is doing the same. Most RPGs are now adding bonus missions and gameplay. Some games are even giving fast start advantages to those willing to pay a dollar for them. Finally, the music games killed themselves with it. Instead of launching new $65 games with new songs, they just continued to release downloadable content. While this may have been a cheaper way to make more money than with a new game, they ended up competing with their competition to the point where in a short period of time they used up all the quality songs they could get the rights to and now they are unable to sell a new game.

Games ship with the expectations of downloadable content. They seem to be keeping things out of games with the sole purpose of giving them out at a later time through downloadable content. This makes me wonder why I continue to dish out the money for these games. They are becoming a bigger ripoff with each version. Instead of $65 for the game, it's $65 for the game and $20-30 in downloadable content. They are sneaking in these price hikes without much notice. You may argue, you don't have to buy them. If you don't you're limited in what you can do though.

What are your thoughts on this?