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
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.
2 Pricing and releases
3 Removal of games
4 See also
6 External links
Xbox Live Arcade on
Xbox Live Arcade service was officially announced on May 12, 2004,
at Microsoft's E3 press conference by Bill Gates  and launched on
November 6, 2004, for the original
Xbox game console. 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
Official Xbox Magazine and as
part of the
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 $4.99
Xbox Live Arcade games released on the original
early 2011 (27 titles)
Compared to current XBLA
Dino and Aliens
Marble Blast Gold
Namco Vintage (Pole Position, Dig Dug, & Galaga)
Ricochet Lost Worlds
Super Collapse II
Xbox Live Arcade on
See also: List of
Xbox Live Arcade 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 (with a few exceptions), 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. The original size limit imposed by
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). 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.
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
Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1 as a compilation disc of
six games. On October 18, 2007,
Microsoft announced the
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.
Toy Soldiers: Cold War was part of the 2011 Summer of Arcade
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
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
Monday Night Combat and Lara Croft and the
Guardian of Light. A "Shopping Spree" promotion ended November 1,
2010, in which anyone who spent over 2400 points during October 2010
received an 800-point reward.
By March 10, 2006, three million downloads had been made on the
service. 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
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,
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.
Microsoft has decided to forgo placing different types
of games in different channels. As such,
Microsoft will drop the "Live
Arcade" moniker, instead grouping all types of games (would-be Arcade
titles, retail, and Indies) together.
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. Several games were temporarily free, 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,
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. On June 24, 2011 video game website
1UP.com reported that
Microsoft was preparing to bring free-to-play games to
Xbox Live and
said games will include a microtransaction service. The first
free-to-play game, Happy Wars, was released on October 12, 2012.
Removal of games
See also: List of
Xbox Live Arcade 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
Microsoft has never removed a game using this
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
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 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. From January 19, 2012, Doom was restored to
Arcade under new publisher Bethesda. In 2011,
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
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
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.
Video games portal
Xbox Games Store
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Indie Games
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Video gaming products by Microsoft
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