|Xbox Live Arcade|
|Release date(s)|| December 3, 2004 (Xbox)|
November 22, 2005 (Xbox 360)
Prior to the Xbox 360, "Xbox Live Arcade" was the name for an online distribution network on the original Xbox, which was replaced by the Xbox Live Marketplace.
The XBLA software was obtained by ordering it on Microsoft's website. It was sent by mail on a disc that also contained a free version of the Ms. Pac-Man video game. 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.
The service launched with six titles and expanded its library to twelve titles by the end of the year. 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.
|List of Xbox Live Arcade games released on original Xbox (27 games)|
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. Every Arcade title on the Xbox 360 supports leaderboards, has 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 online multiplayer, and download bonus content.
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.
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. When that summer ended, Microsoft announced that new titles for XBLA would also be released on Wednesdays.
In order to promote the service in retail, Microsoft released Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 as a compilation disc of six games. 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.
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.
On July 30, 2008, Microsoft announced the XBLA Summer of Arcade. Anyone who downloaded one of the titles released over August, (Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Braid, Bionic Commando Rearmed, 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. Another Summer of Arcade began the next year on July 22, 2009. Anyone who purchases all the titles released, ('Splosion Man, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, Trials HD and Shadow Complex,) will receive an 800 point reward. The next Summer of Arcade begin on July 21, 2010, and features Limbo, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Monday Night Combat and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
The original size limit imposed by Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade games was 50MB, in order to ensure any downloaded game could fit on a 64MB Xbox memory unit. As the service became more popular, the limit was increased to 150MB. Further along the line this restriction was removed entirely and now the top limit is 2GB, which is a technical restriction of the system rather than an arbitrary limit imposed by Microsoft. 
By March 10, 2006, three million downloads had been made. By January 30, 2007 that number had grown to 20 million. The service reached 25 million downloads on March 6, 2007 with 45 million downloads projected by the end of 2007.
On March 27, 2007 Microsoft declared Uno to be the first Xbox Live Arcade game to exceed one million downloads.
Nearly 70 percent of Xbox 360 owners connected to Xbox Live have downloaded an Arcade title with the attach rate being 6-7 titles per user. 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%).
On September 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the top ten Arcade downloads worldwide as Aegis Wing, Uno, Texas Hold 'em, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Bankshot Billiards 2, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Classic Arcade, Worms, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Contra.
Pricing and releases
Xbox Live Arcade games are purchased using Microsoft Points (msp). Titles range in price from 200msp to 1600msp, with the vast majority selling for 800msp and under. The games are generally aimed towards 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. Others are permanently free including Aegis Wing, a game created by three Microsoft interns, TotemBall, a game that can only be played with the Xbox Live Vision camera, Yaris (a Toyota-backed advergame), and Dash of Destruction, which was released on December 17, 2008 as a Doritos advergame. On November 30, 2007 Microsoft introduced "Xbox Live Arcade Hits", where games are permanently reduced in price (a similar concept to their "Platinum Hits" for regular retail Xbox 360 games). As of July 22, 2008 current Arcade Hits include Lumines Live!, Assault Heroes, Zuma, Doom, Bankshot Billiards 2, Small Arms, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and Marble Blast Ultra.
Removal of games from the service
In May 2008, Microsoft announced that games older than 6 months would become eligible for delisting from the service if they had a Metacritic score below 65 and a conversion rate below 6%. The objective was to "focus the catalogue more on larger, more immersive games and make it much easier to find the games you are looking for." However, Microsoft has never removed a game using the method.
In February 2010 it was announced that nine games from Midway Games would no longer be available for purchase, "due to publisher evolving rights and permissions", referring to the purchase by Warner Bros. of some assets of Midway Games, including certain rights related to the nine games. Similar fates befell the XBLA version of Double Dragon when it's publisher went under. Yaris was an advergame that was pulled from the system after a year due to the timely nature of its contents.
- ↑ Luke Guttridge (2004-05-11). "E3 2004: EA joins the Live party as MS dates Halo and more - news - play". play.tm. http://play.tm/story/3541. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- ↑ Chris Morris (2004-10-14). "Xbox hugs Mr. Pac Man". CNN. http://money.cnn.com/2004/10/13/commentary/game_over/column_gaming/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Xbox.com - Xbox Live Arcade - Xbox Games". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2005-06-10. Archived from the original on 2008-08-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20080821232029/http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/livearcadexbox/default.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dale Nardozzi (2004-12-03). "Xbox Live Arcade Breakdown - TeamXbox". TeamXbox. http://features.teamxbox.com/xbox/969/Xbox-Live-Arcade-Breakdown/p1/. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Catalog - Xbox - Forza Motorsport Bundle". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2005-11-12. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xboxforzamotorsportbundle/. Retrieved 2006-05-26.
- ↑ Hilary Goldstein (2004-11-01). "IGN: Xbox Live Arcade Review - We check out the first wave of Live Arcade games. Will they be worth your cash?". IGN. http://xbox.ign.com/articles/562/562571p1.html. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- ↑ "Xbox 360 Hard Drive (20 GB)". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2005-11-22. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360harddrive. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
- ↑ "Xbox.com: Xbox LIVE Arcade - Classic and New Games on Xbox 360". Xbox.com. Microsoft. http://www.xbox.com:80/en-US/games/livearcade. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Xbox News - November 2006 Update Features List". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2006-10-30. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/news/2006/1030-novemberupdate-completelist.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- ↑ Jason Dobson (2006-07-12). "Microsoft Confirms 'Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays'". GamaSutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=10036. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
- ↑ Tor Thorsen (2006-07-11). "$10 Street Fighter II coming to Xbox Live August 2". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6153857.html. Retrieved 2006-07-12.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2006-09-05. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/x/xblarcadeunpluggedvol1/. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
- ↑ Tom Magrino (2007-10-18). "$279 360 Arcade official". Gamespot. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6181267.html. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Joe Keiser (2008-05-22). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles". Next-Gen.biz. http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10620&Itemid=2. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- ↑ http://kotaku.com/5580738/limbo-lara-croft--castlevania-heat-up-xbox-lives-summer-of-arcade
- ↑ http://xboxlive.ign.com/articles/102/1028055p1.html
- ↑ Simon Carless (2006-03-10). "Q&A: Microsoft Discusses Xbox 360 Live Stats". GamaSutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=8474. Retrieved 2006-03-10.
- ↑ "Xbox.com: Ten New Titles Approach the Xbox Live Arcade Horizon". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2007-01-30. http://www.xbox.com/en-CA/community/news/2007/0130-xboxlivearcade.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- ↑ Simon Carless (2007-03-06). "GDC: Microsoft Announces 6 Million Xbox Live Users". GamaSutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18759. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Brandon Boyer (2007-08-15). "GameFest: TMNT, Street Fighter II Top XBLA Charts". GamaSutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=15117. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
- ↑ "Souped-up Xbox 360 set for April". Reuters. 2007-03-27. http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN2724344720070328?pageNumber=2. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 "Microsoft's Complete Xbox 360/Live Stat Attack". Next-Gen.biz. 2007-09-16. http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7222&Itemid=9. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 "Developing for Xbox LIVE Arcade - Microsoft Casual Games". Microsoft. 2007-05-13. http://www.microsoftcasualgames.msn.com/developers_xla.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-13.
- ↑ Patrick Klepek (2007-08-13). "Gamefest 2007: 45M Downloads on XBL news from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3161901. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Scott Austin (2007-07-16). "Partner Day Seattle 2007 - XBLA Business Update" (PDF). Microsoft. http://www.microsoftcasualgames.msn.com/developers_resources/VAustin_MS_Casual_Games.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Xbox News - Texas Hold 'em Free in Arcade for First 48 Hours". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2006-08-15. http://www.xbox.com/en-us/community/news/2006/0815-texasholdem.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- ↑ César A. Berardini (2007-11-15). "Reminder: Get Carcassonne for Free". TeamXbox. http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/15111/Reminder-Get-Carcassonne-for-Free/. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
- ↑ Chris Kohler (2008-01-18). "XBLA Undertow, Free For Your Live Troubles". Wired. http://blog.wired.com/games/2008/01/xbla-undertow-f.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Aegis Wing - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2007-05-11. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/a/aegiswingxboxlivearcade/. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - News - TotemBall Dances on to Xbox Live Arcade". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2006-10-03. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/news/2006/1003-totemball.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-04.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Yaris - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft. 2007-10-08. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/y/yarisxbloxlivearcade/default.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
- ↑ Chris Faylor (2007-11-19). "Doritos Dash of Destruction Wins XBLA Contest, NinjaBee Developing for Summer 2008 Release". Shacknews. http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/49998. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- ↑ Brandon Boyer (2007-11-30). "Microsoft Details Xbox 360 Update, Announces XBLA Greatest Hits". GamaSutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16447. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
- ↑ "Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade - Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits". Microsoft. 2007-11-30. http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/arcadehits/default.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
- ↑ "MS to Delist XBLA Titles", May 22 2008, EDGE Online. Page retrieved February 18, 2010.
- ↑ "Several Midway Games Pulled from Xbox Live" Feb 17, 2010, 1up.com
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