Xbox Live Arcade


Xbox Live Arcade

Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is an online service operated by Microsoft that is used to digitally distribute video games to Xbox and Xbox 360 owners via Xbox Live. As of October 8, 2008, there have been 168 titles released for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360.

History

Xbox

The Xbox Live Arcade service was officially announced on May 11, 2004 at Microsoft's E3 press conference [cite web| author=Luke Guttridge|publisher=play.tm|date=2004-05-11|accessdate=2008-05-19|title=E3 2004: EA joins the Live party as MS dates Halo and more - news - play|url=http://play.tm/story/3541] and launched on November 3, 2004 for the original Xbox game console.cite web| author=Chris Morris|publisher=CNN|date=2004-10-14|accessdate=2008-05-19|title=Xbox hugs Ms. Pac Man|url=http://money.cnn.com/2004/10/13/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm ]

The XBLA software was obtained by ordering it on Microsoft's website. It was sent by mail on a disc that also contains a free version of the "Ms. Pac-Man" video game.cite web| author=Dale Nardozzi|publisher=TeamXbox|date=2004-12-03|accessdate=2008-05-19|title=Xbox Live Arcade Breakdown - TeamXbox|url=http://features.teamxbox.com/xbox/969/Xbox-Live-Arcade-Breakdown/p1/ ] To generate greater publicity for the service, the disc was also distributed with special issues of the "Official Xbox Magazine" and as part of the "Forza Motorsport" Xbox console bundle. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2005-11-12|accessdate=2006-05-26|title=Xbox.com - Catalog - Xbox - Forza Motorsport™ Bundle|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xboxforzamotorsportbundle/ ]

The service launched with six titles and expanded its library to twelve titles by the end of the year. [cite web| author=Hilary Goldstein|publisher=IGN|date=2004-11-01|accessdate=2008-05-27|title=IGN: Xbox Live Arcade Review - We check out the first wave of Live Arcade games. Will they be worth your cash?|url=http://xbox.ign.com/articles/562/562571p1.html ] Once connected to Xbox Live, customers could purchase additional titles by using a credit card, or download a limited trial version of a game. Prices for the games range from USD $4.99 to $14.99.cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2005-06-10|accessdate=2008-06-13|title=Xbox.com - Xbox Live Arcade - Xbox Games|url=http://www.xbox.com:80/en-US/games/livearcadexbox/default.htm ]

Xbox 360

On November 22, 2005, XBLA was relaunched on the Xbox 360. The service was integrated into the main Dashboard user interface, and the Xbox 360 hard drives were bundled with a free copy of "Hexic HD". [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2005-11-22|accessdate=2007-02-03|title=Xbox 360 Hard Drive (20 GB)|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360harddrive ] Every Arcade title on the Xbox 360 supports leaderboards, 200 Achievement points, and high-definition 720p graphics. They also have a trial version available for free download. These demos are playable and most of them offer only a fraction of the levels, modes, and content of the full game. A full version of the game must be purchased to allow the user to upload scores to the leaderboards, unlock achievements, play multiplayer, and download bonus content. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|accessdate=2008-06-26|title=Xbox.com: Xbox LIVE Arcade - Classic and New Games on Xbox 360|url=http://www.xbox.com:80/en-US/games/livearcade ]

Several new features and enhancements have been added through software updates including a friends leaderboard, additional sorting options, faster enumeration of games, an auto-download feature for newly released trial games, and "Tell a Friend" messages. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2006-10-30|accessdate=2008-05-13|title=Xbox.com - Xbox News - November 2006 Update Features List|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/news/2006/1030-novemberupdate-completelist.htm ]

On July 12, 2006, Microsoft launched the "Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays" program, which promised a new Arcade game to be launched every Wednesday for the rest of that Summer. [cite web| author=Jason Dobson|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2006-07-12|accessdate=2006-07-12|title=Microsoft Confirms 'Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays'|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=10036 ] When that summer ended, Microsoft announced that new titles for XBLA would also be released on Wednesdays. [cite web| author=Tor Thorsen|publisher=GameSpot|date=2006-07-11|accessdate=2006-07-12|title=$10 Street Fighter II coming to Xbox Live August 2|url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/6153857.html ]

In order to promote the service in retail, Microsoft released "Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1" as a compilation disc of six games. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2006-09-05|accessdate=2007-02-03|title=Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 - Game Detail Page|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/x/xblarcadeunpluggedvol1/ ] On October 18, 2007, Microsoft announced the Xbox 360 Arcade console SKU which includes full versions of "Boom Boom Rocket", "Feeding Frenzy", "Luxor 2", "Pac-Man Championship Edition", and "Uno".cite web|url=http://www.gamespot.com/news/6181267.html|title=$279 360 Arcade official|author=Tom Magrino|publisher=Gamespot|date=2007-10-18|accessdate=2007-10-18]

On May 22, 2008 Microsoft's general manager of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten, detailed changes for the service that included increasing the size limit of the games to 350MB and improving the way digital rights management is handled. Furthermore, Microsoft created an internal games studio to create "high quality digital content" for XBLA.cite web| author=Joe Keiser|publisher=Next-Gen.biz|date=2008-05-22|accessdate=2008-05-22|title=EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles|url=http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10620&Itemid=2 ]

In July 30, 2008, Microsoft announced the XBLA Summer of Arcade. Anyone who downloaded one of the titles released over August, (", Braid, , Galaga Legions" and "Castle Crashers") would be entered into a prize draw with a grand prize of 100,000 Microsoft Points, 12 Month Xbox Live Gold subscription, and an Xbox 360 Elite console.

In an effort to "focus on quality over quantity", Microsoft will begin to delist older underperforming Arcade titles. In order for a game to be delisted it must be at least six months old, with an average score of below 65% on review-aggregator website Metacritic, and a less than 6% conversion rate. Microsoft will give a three month notice prior to delisting these titles. [cite web| author=Chris Remo|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2008-05-22|accessdate=2008-05-22|title=Microsoft To Delist Low-Ranking XBLA Titles, Raise Size Limit|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18759 ]

More information

ales milestones

By March 10, 2006, three million downloads had been made.cite web| author=Simon Carless|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2006-03-10|accessdate=2006-03-10|title=Q&A: Microsoft Discusses Xbox 360 Live Stats|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=8474 ] By January 30, 2007 that number had grown to 20 million. [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2007-01-30|accessdate=2008-06-26|title=Xbox.com: Ten New Titles Approach the Xbox Live Arcade Horizon|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-CA/community/news/2007/0130-xboxlivearcade.htm ] The service reached 25 million downloads on March 6, 2007 [cite web| author=Simon Carless|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2007-03-06|accessdate=2007-03-06|title=GDC: Microsoft Announces 6 Million Xbox Live Users|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18759 ] with 45 million downloads projected by the end of 2007.cite web| author=Brandon Boyer|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2007-08-15|accessdate=2007-08-15|title=GameFest: TMNT, Street Fighter II Top XBLA Charts|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=15117 ]

On March 27, 2007 Microsoft declared "Uno" to be the first Xbox Live Arcade game to exceed one million downloads. [cite web| author=|publisher=Reuters|date=2007-03-27|accessdate=2007-03-27|title=Souped-up Xbox 360 set for April|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN2724344720070328?pageNumber=2 ]

Nearly 70 percent of Xbox 360 owners connected to Xbox Live have downloaded an Arcade titlecite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|date=2007-05-13|accessdate=2007-05-13|title=Developing for Xbox LIVE Arcade - Microsoft Casual Games|url=http://www.microsoftcasualgames.msn.com/developers_xla.htm ] with the attach rate being 6-7 titles per user. [cite web| author=Patrick Klepek|publisher=1UP.com|date=2007-08-13|accessdate=2007-08-13|title=Gamefest 2007: 45M Downloads on XBL news from 1UP.com|url=http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3161901 ] Original games typically receive 350,000 downloads in the first month. Titles have an average 156% financial return over twelve months with the first two months of sales accounting for just 35% of total volume. Average conversion rate (from trial download to purchase) across all titles is 18% (a low of 4% and high of 51%).cite web| author=Scott Austin|publisher=Microsoft|date=2007-07-16|accessdate=2007-07-16|title=Partner Day Seattle 2007 - XBLA Business Update|url=http://www.microsoftcasualgames.msn.com/developers_resources/VAustin_MS_Casual_Games.pdf ]

On September 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the top ten Arcade downloads worldwide as "Aegis Wing", "Uno", "Texas Hold 'em", ', "Bankshot Billiards 2", ', "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Classic Arcade", "Worms", "", and "Contra".cite web| author=|publisher=Next-Gen.biz|date=2007-09-16|accessdate=2007-09-16|title=Microsoft's Complete Xbox 360/Live Stat Attack|url=http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7222&Itemid=9 ]

Pricing and releases

Xbox Live Arcade games are purchased using Microsoft Points. Titles range in price from 400msp to 1600msp, with the vast majority selling for 800msp and under. The games are generally aimed toward more casual gamers, striving for "pick up and play" appeal.

Several games were temporarily made free for a limited time, including "Texas Hold 'em", "Carcassonne", and "Undertow". [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2006-08-15|accessdate=2006-08-15|title=Xbox.com - Xbox News - Texas Hold 'em Free in Arcade for First 48 Hours|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-us/community/news/2006/0815-texasholdem.htm ] [cite web| author=César A. Berardini|publisher=TeamXbox|date=2007-11-15|accessdate=2007-11-15|title=Reminder: Get Carcassonne for Free|url=http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/15111/Reminder-Get-Carcassonne-for-Free/ ] [cite web| author=Chris Kohler|publisher=Wired|date=2008-01-18|accessdate=2008-01-18|title=XBLA Undertow, Free For Your Live Troubles|url=http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/01/xbla-undertow-f.html ] Others are permanently free including "Aegis Wing", a game created by three Microsoft interns, [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2007-05-11|accessdate=2007-05-11|title=Xbox.com - Aegis Wing - Game Detail Page|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/a/aegiswingxboxlivearcade/ ] "TotemBall", a game that can only be played with the Xbox Live Vision camera, [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2006-10-03|accessdate=2006-10-04|title=Xbox.com - News - TotemBall Dances on to Xbox Live Arcade|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/news/2006/1003-totemball.htm ] "Yaris" (a Toyota-backed advergame) [cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|work=Xbox.com|date=2007-10-08|accessdate=2007-10-08|title=Xbox.com - Yaris - Game Detail Page|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/y/yarisxbloxlivearcade/default.htm ] and "Doritos Dash of Destruction", an upcoming advergame. [cite web| author=Chris Faylor|publisher=Shacknews|date=2007-11-19|accessdate=2007-11-19|title=Doritos Dash of Destruction Wins XBLA Contest, NinjaBee Developing for Summer 2008 Release|url=http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/49998 ]

On November 30, 2007 Microsoft introduced "Xbox Live Arcade Hits", where games are permanently reduced in price.cite web| author=Brandon Boyer|publisher=GamaSutra|date=2007-11-30|accessdate=2007-11-30|title=Microsoft Details Xbox 360 Update, Announces XBLA Greatest Hits|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16447 ] As of July 22 2008 current Arcade Hits include "Lumines Live!", "Assault Heroes", "Zuma", "Doom", "Bankshot Billiards 2", "Small Arms", "", and "Marble Blast Ultra".cite web| author=|publisher=Microsoft|date=2007-11-30|accessdate=2007-11-30|title=Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade - Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits|url=http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/arcadehits/default.htm ]

List of games

References

External links

* [http://www.xbox.com/en-us/livearcade/default.htm Official Xbox Live Arcade website]


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