An anonymous “trusted” source has informed IGN that Microsoft is going to be allowing free-to-play games on the 360 in 2012. The new service would provide a means for publishers and developers to deliver free titles to Xbox Live and then charge players small fees for in-game items. IGN noted that Joy Ride, prior to its release, was initially going to be a microtransaction title before the team decided to make it a full retail game. So it would seem that this idea has been ruminating over at Microsoft for some time.
Mash Those Buttons will deliver you more information regarding this rumor as it develops.
Image courtesy of VG Revolution.