one year after launching a retail portal for Xbox Live content, Amazon is "no longer selling Xbox Live Arcade game codes," according to a statement on the site's Xbox Live page. Following a prompt on the same page to buy Castle Crashers for Xbox 360, for example, shoppers will find the item listed as "Currently unavailable," with a notice adding, "We don't know when or if this item will be available again."
It's unclear why Amazon discontinued its Xbox Live program, considering the retailer continues to sell codes for games on PlayStation Network and Nintendo's WiiWare service. "You can continue to purchase Xbox Live points on Amazon.com and those points can be redeemed through your Xbox 360 console to purchase any of the games that were previously available," Amazon notes. (Those points can also be redeemed through the Xbox.com Marketplace, which does not offer standalone content codes for sale.)
In related news, Microsoft has partnered with GameStop to sell Xbox Live content codes in stores. Following a recent trial, codes for more than 45 downloadable games and add-ons will be offered in the retailer's locations nationwide, including the XBLA Summer of Arcade selection Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. With supposedly only "15 percent" of gamers buying downloadable games, GameStop President Tony Bartel told USA Today's Game Hunters that "the marketing and selling of downloadable content in store as a meaningful way to participate and expand the sales of digital content, providing the customer with a richer gaming experience." Essentially, the brick-and-mortar exposure should make more people aware that downloadable games exist in the first place -- something Amazon.com might not do so well.