Microsoft To Offer Full Retail Games on Xbox Live

At a press briefing after Microsoft's main press conference, Marc Whitten, the GM of Xbox Live, revealed that Microsoft will begin selling full retail games as digital download via Xbox Live. Up until now, only demos, Xbox Live Arcade and Xbox Originals have been up for grabs, but now it seems things are opening up to include just about everything else.

The service will be called Games on Demand, and it'll launch in August with about 30 titles, with more being added as the weeks progress. The launch titles will all be older titles (including "Mass Effect" and "Call of Duty 2," for example), but Whitten didn't rule out the possibility that new games could become available on Xbox Live right on launch day.

This is news that should come as a very bad shock to GameStop and other brick-and-mortar games retailers, as it basically cuts them out as the middle man. Not only that, but digital downloads remove the lucrative "used games buy-back" angle, which has been enormously profitable for GameStop. We're still waiting to hear back from the retailer about today's annoucement, and we'll be sure to fill you in when we do.