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Hi guys! After browsing through some posts here, I thought I’d share some info with anyone not familiar with purchasing games through the console… (sorry in advance for the long post!!)
First, you don’t have to be an Xbox Live Gold member to buy games! Silver accounts (the basic, free accounts) can make purchases for stuff like Microsoft points (which can then be used for buying games or other downloadable content – DLC) or Games on Demand. Gold is required for online gameplay and other features, though, so be sure to check what’s offered for each game!
Second, LICENSES. When you download from the Marketplace, your buy the rights to that game for as long as that game is available in the Marketplace – two licenses come with the download – one “local” license attaches to the console and the other “roaming” license attaches to your profile and goes wherever it goes.
Generally, all profiles on the console where it was purchased will be able to use that “local” console license to play the game. In other words, if you buy the game on your account, your family (or friends) who have their profile on that same console can use that game, too! The game publisher will decide if there are any exceptions to this – check usage restrictions on-screen before you buy!
With the “roaming” license that attaches directly to your profile, you can use the rights for that game for yourself on any other console. It’s like a disc game in that sense. So, if you buy the game at home, but you’re going to visit family out of town for the holidays, you can take your game with you without having to pack your console! Just download your profile to their console, then download any or all of your downloadable games to their console, and you can play while connected to Xbox Live on the internet!
This just means the console has to communicate with the Xbox Live servers when you're visiting a different console – you aren’t required to have a Gold membership. You have to connect to the internet so that the Live servers can constantly validate that roaming license for you – the console license is saved locally, right on the machine, so internet connection is not usually required. By the way, disc games have licenses too – but they’re stored right there on the disc, so you never have to think about them.
Third, games are nonrefundable! So make sure you really want something before you buy it, because those licenses are yours for the life of your account! If you have a technical problem, contact support of course, but if it doesn’t get sorted out by the front-line reps, expect that it will get sent up the ladder to get worked on for you.
Oh, one more thing! You can sign in on the Xbox.com website and check for demos or sales and buy them all right on the computer. When you choose something to download, it adds it to your profile’s download queue. Those items will download automatically the next time your account signs in to Xbox Live. Sometimes it can be easier or faster to find stuff on the website and just add it to your queue!
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