|Xbox Live Arcade|
|Website||Xbox 360 Arcade|
Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a type of video game available primarily in a section of the Xbox Live Marketplace, Microsoft's digital distribution network for Xbox 360. As of March 17, 2010, there have been 288 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is an online service operated by Microsoft that is used to distribute video games to Xbox and Xbox 360 owners. The service was first launched on November 4, 2004 and offers games from about $5 to $15 USD. In late 2005, Xbox Live Arcade was relaunched with the release of the Xbox 360 in which new games and features were offered.
The service was relaunched beginning November 22, 2005 on the Xbox 360. The Arcade service is integrated with the Dashboard user interface, allowing for distribution through the Xbox Live Marketplace using Microsoft Points
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