Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, has confirmed in his popular weblog that new restrictions will be placed on Xbox Live Silver accounts, limiting access to free content on Xbox Live Marketplace by one week.
Silver accounts involve no annual fee but do not allow games to be played online. However, users with a Silver account can download free and paid for content, as well as take advantage of free voice and video chat, instant messaging and text messaging.
Following the recent dashboard update though Silver accounts will not have access to free downloadable content when it is first posted. Instead Gold users, who do pay a monthly fee, will have access to the content exclusively for one week – after which Silver members will also be given access.
According to Hryb the change in policy has been introduce to improve download times for paying customers. “This is not done to annoy our Silver members”, he said. “Limited time exclusive access to content is just one of the many benefits of having a Gold Xbox Live account."