'Joy Ride' To Pilot Free-To-Play Model On Xbox Live

Xbox Live should have a new kind of gift for you this holiday season. The upcoming Arcade release "Joy Ride," developed by Big Park, will let you download and play it for free, betting on a new business model of micro-transactions after you're in the door. The Avatar-power racing MMO looks a bit like a giant outdoor Hot Wheels track, and will expand based on user participation.

To make its money, "Joy Ride" will offer "rich customization options through micro-transactions to suit every personality," according to a press release yesterday. The system sounds a lot like an expansion of the system already in place with Xbox Live Avatars that charges for individualized accessories and clothing.

It is fun to see games like this popping up on Xbox Live years after the Wii introduced multiplayer games where players used their Mii avatars. Microsoft seems to have really warmed up to the idea.

You can't argue with free, though. The customizable pay option better be snazzy, though, if they're going to be the primary source of income. Listed among the game's ongoing expansions are "downloadable content, including new stunt parks, tracks, cars, car upgrades, Avatar clothing and animations, and new events."

Will you give "Joy Ride" a spin when it goes live? What do you think of it's micro-transaction system? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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