Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a game market operated by Microsoft that is used to digitally distribute video games to Xbox and Xbox 360 owners via Xbox Live. As of October 2016, there have been 719 titles released for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360.
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. 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, 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.
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.
In 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.
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. Curiously, delisted titles won't be removed from Xbox live completely, they will just be inaccessible through Xbox live marketplace via normal methods. If you have already downloaded a delisted game, you can recommend it to another user, and they will receive a link do download the game.
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.
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. 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. 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 Doritos Dash of Destruction, an upcoming advergame. On November 30, 2007 Microsoft introduced "Xbox Live Arcade Hits", where games are permanently reduced in price. 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.
List of games
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- Jason Dobson (2006-07-12). "Microsoft Confirms 'Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays'". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2006-07-12.
- Tor Thorsen (2006-07-11). "$10 Street Fighter II coming to Xbox Live August 2". GameSpot. Retrieved on 2006-07-12.
- "Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2006-09-05). Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
- Tom Magrino (2007-10-18). "$279 360 Arcade official". Gamespot. Retrieved on 2007-10-18.
- Joe Keiser (2008-05-22). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles". Next-Gen.biz. Retrieved on 2008-05-22.
- Chris Remo (2008-05-22). "Microsoft To Delist Low-Ranking XBLA Titles, Raise Size Limit". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2008-05-22.
- Simon Carless (2006-03-10). "Q&A: Microsoft Discusses Xbox 360 Live Stats". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2006-03-10.
- "Xbox.com: Ten New Titles Approach the Xbox Live Arcade Horizon". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2007-01-30). Retrieved on 2008-06-26.
- Simon Carless (2007-03-06). "GDC: Microsoft Announces 6 Million Xbox Live Users". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2007-03-06.
- Brandon Boyer (2007-08-15). "GameFest: TMNT, Street Fighter II Top XBLA Charts". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2007-08-15.
- "Souped-up Xbox 360 set for April". Reuters (2007-03-27). Retrieved on 2007-03-27.
- "Microsoft's Complete Xbox 360/Live Stat Attack". Next-Gen.biz (2007-09-16). Retrieved on 2007-09-16.
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- Scott Austin (2007-07-16). "Partner Day Seattle 2007 - XBLA Business Update". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2007-07-16.
- "Xbox.com - Xbox News - Texas Hold 'em Free in Arcade for First 48 Hours". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2006-08-15). Retrieved on 2006-08-15.
- César A. Berardini (2007-11-15). "Reminder: Get Carcassonne for Free". TeamXbox. Retrieved on 2007-11-15.
- Chris Kohler (2008-01-18). "XBLA Undertow, Free For Your Live Troubles". Wired. Retrieved on 2008-01-18.
- "Xbox.com - Aegis Wing - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2007-05-11). Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
- "Xbox.com - News - TotemBall Dances on to Xbox Live Arcade". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2006-10-03). Retrieved on 2006-10-04.
- "Xbox.com - Yaris - Game Detail Page". Xbox.com. Microsoft (2007-10-08). Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
- Chris Faylor (2007-11-19). "Doritos Dash of Destruction Wins XBLA Contest, NinjaBee Developing for Summer 2008 Release". Shacknews. Retrieved on 2007-11-19.
- Brandon Boyer (2007-11-30). "Microsoft Details Xbox 360 Update, Announces XBLA Greatest Hits". GamaSutra. Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
- "Xbox.com - Xbox LIVE Arcade - Xbox LIVE Arcade Hits". Microsoft (2007-11-30). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.