3. Free Downloadable Demos
As much as I harped about all the features that were missing from Xbox Live Marketplace, offering free downloadable demos on Xbox Live is something that Microsoft has implemented better than any other device, PC included. Sure, Sony may have sent out demo CDs to members of the PlayStation Insider club but by the time the discs were actually manufactured and reached gamers, many of the games were already old. With the Xbox Live distribution system, the manufacturing delay is gone. So, not only are you getting downloadable demos of games, you're often getting demos of games that aren't even available for purchase yet. The first example is Fight Night 3. (And yes, these are real screenshots we took ourselves)
The irony of all this is that everyone wins with free downloadable demos. For gamers, it's a chance to get access to free content. Most of the demos seem to offer a good amount of gameplay, so it's a great way to enjoy those second-tier games that you might not really consider. For Microsoft and developers, it's cheap marketing. As cheap as it is to make CDs and DVDs (i.e. AOL discs), bandwidth is even cheaper.
What makes demos on Xbox 360 better than PC demos is that you don't have to worry about installing or uninstalling the software. When you download a PC demo, you may have to deal with random software being installed on your PC such as StarForce or uninstallers that leave tons of registry entries behind. On Xbox 360, this isn't a problem. I know downloadable game demos have been around on PCs since the BBS era, but Xbox Live is bringing that to the console. You get PC flexibility with console reliability and no one else has that capability yet.