99 cent Xbox Live games

Remember that huge Easter sale on Xbox Live titles we were so enthusiastic about a short time ago? It took a little while to receive confirmation on this, but we’ve learned that the seven featured games have permanently dropped in price to 99 cents. That’s good news to Windows Phone gamers as it means we have a new (and more competitive) price point for games!

The seven games that dropped in price from $2.99 to 99 cents:

Wondering what prompted the change in prices? The obvious answer is that Microsoft timed the drops in accordance with the release of the Nokia Lumia 900 (review). With the much-vaunted handset producing a flood of new Windows Phone owners and potential gamers, the big MS probably thought it important for these new customers to be able to pick up a few Xbox Live games on the cheap. Angry Birds in particular really needed to come down in price due to it being offered for free on a few other platforms already. In case the hubbub over Rovio passing on bringing Angry Birds in Space to Windows Phone (and their subsequent one-eighty) didn’t cue you in, it’s very important that the masses have their Angry Birds.

In Angry Birds’ case, platform equity is most likely reason for a price drop. And certainly most of the seven games cost 99 cents on iPhone as well – but not all. De Blob Revolution actually sells for $2.99 on iTunes at present. Something tells me it simply wasn’t a hot seller on Windows Phone, perhaps due to the weakness of the De Blob brand or the game’s lack of post-release updates. As for Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, why that’s a Windows Phone exclusive! But the game is a bit content-light, a factor that may have led to its price shedding a few dollars.

Wondering whether the game makers had any say in their titles’ new prices? “We had the opportunity to drop our existing games to the new price point, so we decided to do so and test the water, so to speak,” one Xbox Live developer told WPCentral. The same game maker expects to drop the price of another title in the future.

The new price offers advantages to everyone involved. Developers now have a little more control in the pricing of their games, and gamers can pick up titles more affordably. Of course, for a game to be more profitable in the 99 cent range than $2.99, it needs to sell over three times as many copies. Initially, the Windows Phone user base simply wasn’t large enough to sustain such low prices. Microsoft could have still launched with the sub-dollar price, but games would have been loss leaders until more people picked up handsets. Now that Nokia is fully onboard and actively advertising the Lumia 900, the user base has either grown enough or is expected to grow enough in short order to make lower game prices viable.

How many of these seven games have you picked up since they got cheaper, dear readers?