New Xbox Karaoke App Will Charge Gamers By The Hour

By Khurram Aziz | Nov 21, 2012 12:52 PM EST

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Microsoft is rolling out a new video game streaming service via its Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360 which will charge gamers by the hour.

Developed in collaboration with Stingray Music USA, the Karaoke app will be available for use to members who are subscribers of the Xbox Live Gold service and will feature a list of 8,000 songs to choose from.

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Tracks range from pop, rock, country, and R&B and can be streamed directly over the internet for players to sing-a-long to in time for Christmas.

Most Xbox Live Arcade games are small enough to be distributed as a download and can be exchanged for stored Microsoft Points purchased using real-world cash. Once a game is purchased, developers often attempt to bring in additional revenue by using in-game purchases or add-on content packs.

Microsoft's Karaoke app is taking this a step further with a potentially never ending revenue stream as it looks to turn buyers into renters.

Players of the game typically buy a block of time, with those looking for a quick sing-song able to purchase a two-hour block, or those planning a party can opt for a six-hour or even 24-hour block of play time.

Stingray Music, a subsidiary of Stingray Digital Group, is a Montreal-based company which provides music via video-on-demand to more than 55 million homes worldwide, as well as using its downloadable apps for the iPhone and iPad.

"As the owner of the world's largest licensed karaoke library and karaoke service on TV and internet, [Stingray] will combine its expertise with the advanced capabilities of the Xbox 360 platform from Microsoft to develop the best in-home karaoke experience ever," said Eric Boyko, President and CEO of Stingray Digital Group in a press release. "Now anyone can access our vast library and sing in a fun and interactive way right from their Xbox." 

Microsoft isn't the only company experimenting in paid karaoke games for its console users.

Sony also recently announced that the latest incarnation of its SingStar karaoke game on the PlayStation 3 would be made available for free, with users instead paying to download individual tracks.

In Japan, Nintendo's Wii U customers also get a free karaoke title, Nintendo-JoySound Wii Karaoke U, which, like Microsoft's title, charges for blocks of time. Featuring over 90,000 songs, there is no indication that game will be available in the US.

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