Xbox Live Arcade

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Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a digital video game download service available through the Xbox Games Store, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360. It focuses on smaller downloadable games from both major publishers and independent game developers. Titles range from classic console and arcade video games, to new games designed from the ground up for the service. Games available through the XBLA service range from $5–20 in price, and as of October 2016, there have been 719 Xbox Live Arcade titles released for the 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.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

In the video game industry, digital distribution is the process of delivering video game content as digital information, without the exchange or purchase of new physical media. This process has existed since the early 1980s, but it was only with network advancements in bandwidth capabilities in the early 2000s that digital distribution became more prominent as a method of selling games. Currently, the process is dominated by online distribution over broadband internet.

Xbox Games Store is a digital distribution platform used by Microsoft's Xbox One and Xbox 360 video game consoles. The service allows users to download or purchase video games, add-ons for existing games, game demos along with other miscellaneous content such as gamer pictures and Dashboard themes.




Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox (2004) Xboxlivearcadexb1.jpg
Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox (2004)

The Xbox Live Arcade service was officially announced on May 12, 2004, at Microsoft's E3 press conference by Bill Gates [1] and launched on November 6, 2004, for the original Xbox game console. [2] 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. [3]

Xbox (console) 2000 video game console by Microsoft

The Xbox is a home video game console and the first installment in the Xbox series of consoles manufactured by Microsoft. It was released as Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market on November 15, 2001, in North America, followed by Australia, Europe and Japan in 2002. It is classified as a sixth generation console, competing with Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's GameCube. It was also the first console produced by an American company since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in 1996.

<i>Ms. Pac-Man</i> 1981 video game

Ms. Pac-Man is the second game in the Pac-Man series, released in arcades in February 1982. Ms. Pac-Man introduced a female protagonist, four different mazes, more colorful graphics, and several gameplay changes.

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 [4] The service launched with six titles and expanded its library to twelve titles by the end of the year. [5] 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 $4.99 to $14.99. [6]

<i>Official Xbox Magazine</i> monthly video game magazine

Official Xbox Magazine is a monthly video game magazine which started in November 2001 around the launch of the original Xbox. A preview issue was released at E3 2001, with another preview issue in November 2001. The magazine was bundled with a disc that included game demos, preview videos and trailers, and other content, such as game or Xbox updates and free gamerpics. The discs also provided the software for the Xbox 360 for backward compatibility of original Xbox games for those without broadband and Xbox Live access. As of January 2012, OXM no longer includes a demo disc. In mid-2014, the U.S. version was merged into the UK version on the website, which lasted only a few months until Future plc announced that it was closing its website along with all the other websites that Future has published, including Edge and Computer and Video Games. In February 2015, OXM and all of Future's video game websites were redirected into GamesRadar. The magazine itself continues to be published in the UK, US and Australia.

<i>Forza Motorsport</i> 2005 racing video game by Turn 10

Forza Motorsport is a 2005 simulation racing video game developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft for the Xbox gaming system. The word Forza is Italian for power. The game is the first installment in the Forza series, a series that has continued on Microsoft's subsequent consoles, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. It features over 200 cars and multiple real world and fictional race courses. It also featured online multiplayer via Xbox Live. Forza Motorsport received universal acclaim according to the review aggregation website Metacritic, and received a Gold sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom. The NPD Group reported that in its release month the game sold over 100,000 copies in North America.

In marketing, product bundling is offering several products or services for sale as one combined product or service package. It is a common feature in many imperfectly competitive product and service markets. Industries engaged in the practice include telecommunications services, financial services, health care, information and consumer electronics. A software bundle might include a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program into a single office suite. The cable television industry often bundles many TV and movie channels into a single tier or package. The fast food industry combines separate food items into a "meal deal" or "value meal".

List of Xbox Live Arcade games released on the original Xbox since early 2011 (27 titles)

Xbox 360

Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360. Xboxlivearcade.jpg
Xbox Live Arcade on 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 . [7] 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 (with a few exceptions), and download bonus content. [8] 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. [9] The original size limit imposed by Microsoft for Xbox Live Arcade games was 50 MB, in order to ensure any downloaded game could fit on a 64 MB Xbox memory unit. The limit has since been changed to 150 MB, then 350 MB, and now 2 GB, the latter of which is a technical limitation of the system (rather than an arbitrary limit imposed by Microsoft). [10] On September 12, 2012 the 2 GB limit was raised to an unknown number with two titles, Red Johnson's Chronicles and Double Dragon Neon weighing at 2.68 GB and 2.24 GB, respectively. [11] [12]

The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information announced later that month at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo.


720p is a progressive HDTV signal format with 720 horizontal lines and an aspect ratio (AR) of 16:9, normally known as widescreen HDTV (1.78:1). All major HDTV broadcasting standards include a 720p format, which has a resolution of 1280×720; however, there are other formats, including HDV Playback and AVCHD for camcorders, that use 720p images with the standard HDTV resolution. The frame rate is standards-dependent, and for conventional broadcasting appears in 50 progressive frames per second in former PAL/SECAM countries, and 59.94 frames per second in former NTSC countries.

A game demo is a (usually) freely distributed piece of an upcoming or recently released video game. Demos are typically released by the game's publisher to help consumers get a feel of the game before deciding whether to buy the full version and/or keep it.

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. [13] When that summer ended, Microsoft announced that new titles for XBLA would also be released on Wednesdays. [14] In order to promote the service in retail, Microsoft released Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 as a compilation disc of six games. [15] 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 . [16] 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. [17]

<i>Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged</i> series of video game bundles

Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged is a series of Xbox 360 Games released which allow the play of Xbox Live Arcade games without requiring a purchase via Xbox Live.

<i>Boom Boom Rocket</i> video game

Boom Boom Rocket (BBR) is a downloadable video game for Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service. Boom Boom Rocket is the first rhythm game for Xbox Live Arcade and was developed by Geometry Wars creators Bizarre Creations and published by the Pogo division of Electronic Arts. The game was made backwards compatible on Xbox One on July 26, 2016.

<i>Feeding Frenzy</i> (video game) video game

Feeding Frenzy is an arcade-style aquatic video game written by Sprout Games, and published by PopCap Games. With an initial debut on February 11, 2004, it saw re-release on the Xbox Live Arcade service, with versions for both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 version, released March 15, 2006, was the 17th most popular Xbox Live Arcade title for 2006.

Toy Soldiers: Cold War was part of the 2011 Summer of Arcade promotion. TS2 CommandoTheUltimateWeapon.jpg
Toy Soldiers: Cold War was part of the 2011 Summer of Arcade promotion.

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 began 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 . [18] A "Shopping Spree" promotion ended November 1, 2010, in which anyone who spent over 2400 points during October 2010 received an 800-point reward.

<i>Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2</i> video game

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is a multidirectional shooter video game created by Bizarre Creations, released on Xbox Live Arcade on July 30, 2008 as a sequel to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.

<i>Braid</i> (video game) video game

Braid is a platform and puzzle video game developed by Number None and considered an indie title. The game was originally released in August 2008 for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service. Ports were developed and released for Microsoft Windows in April 2009, OS X that May, PlayStation 3 that November, and Linux in December 2010. Jonathan Blow designed the game as a personal critique of contemporary trends in video game development. He self-funded the three-year project. Webcomic artist David Hellman drew the artwork, which underwent several iterations until it satisfied the designer's vision.

<i>Bionic Commando Rearmed</i> video game

Bionic Commando Rearmed is an enhanced remake of the 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System version of Bionic Commando. It was developed by Grin and published by Capcom for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade, and was released in August 2008. The BlackBerry version was developed and published by Beeline Interactive and released on April 23, 2009. The remake serves as a prelude to the 2009 video game Bionic Commando. A sequel, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, was released in February 2011.

By March 10, 2006, three million downloads had been made on the service. [19] By January 30, 2007, that number had grown to 20 million. [20] The service reached 25 million downloads on March 6, 2007 [21] with 45 million downloads projected by the end of 2007. [22] On March 27, 2007, Microsoft declared Uno to be the first Xbox Live Arcade game to exceed one million downloads. [23] Nearly 70 percent of Xbox 360 owners connected to Xbox Live have downloaded an Arcade title [24] [25] with the attach rate being 6–7 titles per user. [26] 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% [22] (a low of 4% and high of 51%). [27] 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 . [24]

Xbox One

With Xbox One, Microsoft has decided to forgo placing different types of games in different channels. As such, Microsoft have discontinued use of the "Live Arcade" moniker, instead grouping all types of games (would-be Arcade titles, retail, and Indies) together. [28]

Pricing and releases

Xbox Live Arcade titles range in price from $2.50 to $20 with the vast majority selling for $10 and under. The games are generally aimed towards more casual gamers, striving for "pick up and play" appeal. [25] Several games were temporarily free, including Texas Hold 'em , Carcassonne , and Undertow . [29] [30] [31] Others are permanently free including Aegis Wing , a game created by three Microsoft interns, [32] TotemBall , a game that can only be played with the Xbox Live Vision camera, [33] Yaris (a Toyota-backed advergame), [34] and Dash of Destruction , which was released on December 17, 2008, as a Doritos advergame. [35] 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). [36] 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 . [37] On June 24, 2011 video game website reported that Microsoft was preparing to bring free-to-play games to Xbox Live and said games will include a microtransaction service. [38] The first free-to-play game, Happy Wars , was released on October 12, 2012. [39]

Removal of games

In May 2008, Microsoft announced that games older than six 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." [40] However, Microsoft has never removed a game using this 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" (even though Sony's PlayStation Store never did as such with its own downloadable Midway games), referring to the purchase by Warner Bros. of some assets of Midway Games, including certain rights related to the nine games. [41] Similar fates befell the XBLA version of Double Dragon when its publisher went under. Yaris was an advergame that was pulled from the system after a year due to avoid it becoming stale content. Id Software's Doom was pulled from the catalogue due to Id being purchased by publisher Zenimax Media, and as such the publishing rights were removed from then publisher Activision. [42] From January 19, 2012, Doom was restored to Xbox Live Arcade under new publisher Bethesda. [43] In 2011, Ubisoft announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was due to be removed from the Xbox Live service on June 30, 2011, due to an expired license. [44] Chessmaster Live has also been removed.

On December 15, 2013, Capcom announced on their blog that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would be removed from the XBLA store. Although no specific date was listed, the last date for DLC for these titles was listed as December 26, 2013. [45]

See also

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Southend Interactive was a game development studio based in Malmö, Sweden. Southend worked on game productions from various genres that run from various clients, such as Ubisoft and Sierra Online. They also created games for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service on the Xbox 360. Southend's company slogan was "Tomorrow's experiences today." On 12 June 2013 Southend Interactive announced it would close with all staff moving to Ubisoft's Massive studio.

<i>Pinball FX</i> 2007 video game

Pinball FX is a pinball machine video game for the Xbox 360. It was developed by Zen Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on April 25, 2007 via the Xbox Live Arcade service. The game features three tables, with six more available as downloadable content, leaderboards and online multiplayer. A sequel to the game, Pinball FX 2 was released on October 27, 2010.

<i>Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix</i> 2008 video game

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is a two dimensional fighting game released using the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Arcade download services. A physical copy of the game was later released as part of Capcom Digital Collection. It is a remake of Super Street Fighter II Turbo featuring the original game and a high definition version using graphics drawn by UDON Entertainment, and arranged music by OverClocked ReMix members. The game was designed by Backbone Entertainment's David Sirlin to be the sixth definitive version of Street Fighter II, although it is in fact the seventh, being released after Hyper Street Fighter II.

In the history of video games, the seventh generation of home consoles began in late 2005 with the release of Microsoft's Xbox 360, and continued with the release of Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Nintendo's Wii the following year. Each new console introduced a new type of breakthrough in technology: the Xbox 360 could play games rendered natively at high-definition video (HD) resolutions; the PlayStation 3 offered HD movie playback via a built-in 3D Blu-ray Disc player; while the Wii focused on integrating controllers with movement sensors as well as joysticks. Some Wii controllers could be moved about to control in-game actions, which enabled players to simulate real-world actions through movement during gameplay. By this generation, video game consoles had become an important part of the global IT infrastructure; it is estimated that video game consoles represented 25% of the world's general-purpose computational power in 2007.

The Xbox 360 system software or the Xbox 360 Dashboard is the updateable software and operating system for the Xbox 360. It formerly resided in a 16 MB file system. However, starting with the NXE Update, more storage became a requirement, rectified by either having a Hard Drive installed, or one of the later revisions of the console with adequate flash storage embedded within the console. The system software has access to a maximum of 32 MB of the system's memory, otherwise, known as Random Access Memory. The updates can be downloaded from the Xbox Live service directly to the Xbox 360 and subsequently installed. Microsoft has also provided the ability to download system software updates from their respective official Xbox website to their PCs and then storage media, from which the update can be installed to the system.

Xbox Live Indie Games are video games created by individual developers or small teams of developers released on Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox 360. The games were developed using Microsoft XNA, and developed by one or more independent developers that are registered with App Hub. Unlike Xbox Live Arcade titles, these were generally only tested within the local creator community, had much lower costs of production, and generally were less expensive to purchase. The service was released to widespread use alongside the New Xbox Experience, and as of November 2014, over 3,300 games have been released on the service, many receiving media attention. All Indie Games currently require the user to be logged into their Xbox Live account to initiate the start-up of each game. Indie Games were not available in Australia, due to the requirement for all games to be rated by the Australian Classification Board, and the prohibitive expenses involved. The Xbox Live Indie Games program did not continue with the release of the Xbox One, and the marketplace for these games was shuttered in October 7, 2017.

<i>Splosion Man</i> 2.5D action platform video game

'Splosion Man is a 2.5D action platform video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games for the Xbox 360, available through the Xbox Live Arcade digital download service. It was released on July 22, 2009 as part of the 2009 Xbox Live Summer of Arcade. Players control 'Splosion Man, an escaped science experiment with the ability to explode himself repeatedly, as he works his way through obstacles and traps trying to exit the fictional laboratory known as Big Science.

<i>Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light</i> video game

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android and, iOS through digital distribution. It is part of the Tomb Raider series, but unlike previous games, the game does not carry the Tomb Raider brand and has a heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay. In multiplayer, players take the role as either Lara Croft or a 2,000-year-old Mayan warrior named Totec. They must work together in order to stop the evil spirit Xolotl and retrieve the Mirror of Smoke. A single-player campaign mode is available that does not include the non-playable character AI following or helping Lara.

Game Room video game

Game Room was a social gaming service for the Xbox 360 video game system, Microsoft Windows PCs, and Windows Phone 7. Launched on March 24, 2010, Game Room let players download classic video games and compete against each other for high scores. Players on both Xbox 360 and Windows PCs could access Game Room through their respective versions of Microsoft's Live online services.

<i>Perfect Dark</i> (2010 video game) Xbox Live Arcade game

Perfect Dark is a remastered release of the first-person shooter video game by the same name. Developed by 4J Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios a decade after the original's 2000 release, the remaster features several technical improvements, including higher resolution textures and models, a higher frame rate, and a multiplayer mode that supports the Xbox Live online service. It was released for the Xbox 360 video game console in March 2010, through the Xbox Live Arcade download service. The story of the game follows Joanna Dark, an agent of the Carrington Institute organization, as she attempts to stop a conspiracy by rival corporation dataDyne.

<i>Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition</i> 2010 arcade video game

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is an update to Super Street Fighter IV, originally released in 2010 for the arcades. It has been ported in 2011 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 and in 2017, the Xbox 360 version became backward compatible on the Xbox One.


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