Microsoft has decided to make it impossible for Xbox Live Marketplace consumers to download content from regions other than their own. Michael Newey, Group Product Marketing Manager for Xbox Europe, explained the thinking behind this interesting take on free trade to the company's aceybongos blog on live.com.
Basically, it comes down to licensing agreements with content providers:
"A good example is the TV and movie content available on Video Marketplace in the US. This content is not available in other countries because it is not licensed for them. However, we know that some Xbox Live members who live outside of the US have been signing up for a US Xbox Live account so they can access this content. When they do, it means Xbox is breaking its contractual agreement with the content provider, so we have to stop this."
The rest of the 'interview' goes on to talk about these non-game related licensing issues without confronting the fact that TV and movie content, certainly in Europe where we don't even have the video marketplace yet, is the big deal in the new controls.
Newey points out that content that has already been downloaded will still function following the Spring update. However, if you want to re-download content that you have already paid for, it will no longer play.
The full interview is available here