Revealed: Xbox Live Arcade Set to Balloon in Coming Months

Massive MAME-like update. Sega involvement ?major?.

Posted by Staff
Revealed: Xbox Live Arcade Set to Balloon in Coming Months
A bit of juicy gossip for you today as SPOnG's US arm catches some sizzling information on the future of the already excellent Xbox Live Arcade service, currently the download darling of 360 owners around the world. Except in Japan, obviously.

Speaking to us in an "off the record so as not to get sacked" capacity, a Microsoft staffer explained how Xbox Live Arcade is going to swell to a monster of epic size. "XBLA has seen some pretty serious deal-making in this first quarter ? it's been a real priority", it was explained to us by a source as close to the project as it's possible to get. "The deal-making has been a no-brainer for everyone we've spoken to and, aside from a few licensing issues with existing products, XBLA is going to smash Nintendo's Virtual Console to pieces. We're going for a major coin-op these[?], so the two offerings are different in that respect."

More? "You've heard of MAME right? Right. We're just doing a legal version of MAME, meaning that all the game owners get paid and the users get quality product based around a community. Imagine the biggest arcade in the world, just 1,000 times bigger. It'll have as many machines as we can possibly get, all with score-rankings and other community stuff. It's not a secret that MAME was massive for hackers of the original Xbox and the pull and sales of retro game packs on current machines is still really high. If this is taken and put under the right noses, it should become the biggest thing in mainstream/hardcore gamer crossover in the industry."

What's more, it looks as though Sega will be offering a major contribution, though frustratingly, we didn't get to the bottom of exactly what will be included in this major revision of Xbox Live Arcade. "Sega games will be included in a major way. It's a surprising addition to the deal and will include games that Nintendo will also be selling. The Nintendo deal is not exclusive."

The Sega involvement we find very interesting because as well as the readily-available 8 and 16-Bit games, the disc-based offers of the Mega CD, Saturn and - dare we hope - Dreamcast could well be rolled out should efficient porting software become available.

"The XBLA stuff [at Microsoft's E3 conference] is going to make up a major part of what they're going to show. The sheer quantity of games in the 'classic' bracket that are going to be shown and the vision of what XBLA will become should be one of the big news stories at this year's E3."

Expect more in the coming days as the E3 information dam hopefully springs a few holes.

Comments

Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 21.
Paul Hill 21 Apr 2006 11:26
2/21
XBox Live Arcade shipped in 2003, the Revolution has yet to ship. Nintendo copying Microsoft, how sad...
NiktheGreek 21 Apr 2006 12:04
3/21
Damn those tricky people at Sega, who rolled out the DreamLibrary download service back in 2000! Yeah, Mega Drive and PC Engine games only, but it still predates both current services. Game download services existed before this too, though not necessarily with retro products being made available.

The point? Stop arguing about innovators and imitators, and start worrying about the content. If Microsoft is serious in it's intentions to bring this massive increase in arcade content about (and looking at the list of companies signed up from a while back, it certainly looks like it) then the only winners can be gamers. Competition will drive both Nintendo and Microsoft to provide impressive selections of games at cheap prices.
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king skins 21 Apr 2006 12:21
4/21
excellent Xbox Live Arcade service, currently the download darling of 360 owners around the world. Except in Japan, obviously


From what I understand the Japanese who own 360's download more than everyone else.

I think I'd prefer to see more title like GeoWars and Hexic than Old Arcade titles, but they are more than welcome.

They'll have to improve the interface for downloading games in XLA, I don't like the current one there is no section for new titles. You have to click into each section to see if there are any new titles.

If it gets bigger that will be a nightmare.
jadnice 21 Apr 2006 13:08
5/21
Paul Hill,

Please don't be silly. When has Microsoft ever been know not to steal others innovative ideas and present it as their own. There is a reason why Nintendo must remain secretive to protect their ideas and investments.
king skins 21 Apr 2006 13:24
6/21
I think its pretty obviouse your the one being silly, the virtual console and its concept is not a invention of Nintendo's, but one they have stolen and copied
jadnice 21 Apr 2006 15:52
7/21
king skins

If you would take your head out of Bill Gates ass, then would stop smelling the sh*t and then have a clear (fresh smelling) understanding of Microsoft?s business stealing ways.
The virtual console has been a concept idea of Nintendo's for some time now. There is nothing original about the Xbox franchise.
Patmos 21 Apr 2006 16:08
8/21
Gonna have to go with Microsoft on this one, although not there idea originally I'm pretty sure nintendo didn't come up with it first either, more one of those communal ideas that everyone kinda has, but the BOX did do it first (tie goes to the runner). Also I've heard rumors that nintendo has no desire to make new content avalible (heard on this site I believe) and only will be increasing a back catalogue of games, Microsoft is buying and commissioning new content as well that is the best news a small game company could ever here. Not knocking big "N" but its going to be the second kid on the play ground with a new toy. Sony on the other hand will simply tell you about its new toy and how you should wait to see it and not play with the other toys until then, you'll have grown old waiting by the time it comes out.
king skins 21 Apr 2006 16:21
9/21
jadnice wrote:
king skins

If you would take your head out of Bill Gates ass, then would stop smelling the sh*t and then have a clear (fresh smelling) understanding of Microsoft’s business stealing ways.
The virtual console has been a concept idea of Nintendo's for some time now. There is nothing original about the Xbox franchise.


My head is not in Bill's ass. I don't have any loyalty to ANY brands or companies, unlike some.
thane_jaw 21 Apr 2006 16:39
10/21
king skins wrote:
excellent Xbox Live Arcade service, currently the download darling of 360 owners around the world. Except in Japan, obviously


From what I understand the Japanese who own 360's download more than everyone else.


One might suggest this is because they've got sweet fa apart from Live Arcade.

king skins wrote:
I think I'd prefer to see more title like GeoWars and Hexic than Old Arcade titles, but they are more than welcome.

They'll have to improve the interface for downloading games in XLA, I don't like the current one there is no section for new titles. You have to click into each section to see if there are any new titles.

If it gets bigger that will be a nightmare.


Penny Arcade's latest podcast (Treachery In 1080i) says they've info that Live is being revamped and improved. In the latest copy of Edge Moore says that Allard et al are busy working on upgrading the existing dashboard interface and I think Major Nelson has stated somewhere on his podcast that they're working on allowing you to do other things whilst your downloading, along with other things. So there are signs that MS aren't resting on their impressive online laurels, though niggly things like not being able to do anything else whilst downloading really should have been sorted out in QA.

MS would be foolish not to continue to upgrade the dashboard and have added features that Sony can't have been "inspired" by for their online service.

As to whether Xbox is original or not or MS steals business, Nintendo were accused of pulling some dubious tactics back in the nineties (rumours that they knew their games caused epilepsy and did nothing about it prior to shipping - increasing sales and minimising bad p.r.). Jadnice, you're naive indeed if you think MS is the only bad guy and that businesses in general play nice.


Anyway, I'm not going to be satisfied until we have Bomberman as an arcade title, but Hudson appears to be siding more with Ninty on this (although there is a new full retail bomberman game coming out for the 360, its apparently in first person... (Games tm, pg 64))
OptimusP 21 Apr 2006 19:59
11/21
I know about those rumors of that elipsy stuff... it was some research conducted by the typical kind of idiots who didn't even take the effort of reading the manuals of those games which did state the dangers of elipsy and others. Now the eighties were the years Nintendo did a lot of bad with their vice-grip on third parties, however you could have said that the bad was a necissity to put the entire industry back on its feet, to bad Nintendo went high-wire in those tyrannical practices.

It's nice to see that MS and Ninty are both trying to pump out the iTunes of games (Iwata stated this at GDC "the Virtual Console can also host the next tetris" new game will be hosted on Nintendo's VC, whoever said otherwise) because it will be big if priced right and executed well enough. Still, a bunch of arcade games and some SEGA-games will probably not outtrump Nintendo's HUGE back-catalog combined with the back-catalog of Square, Namco, Capcom and more but competition is always nice for the end-user.

Besides, Nintendo had plans for a download service for the N64 called Satellaview to be combined with 64DD which flopped regretfull (togheter with some nice gameplayideas) but there's probably someone even before that, whatever.
Smelly 22 Apr 2006 09:22
12/21
Regardless of who stole the idea off who or not.

Nintendo have one thing in their favour - nintendos back catalog!

As for the 360, I already have a pc with mame on it.
kid_77 22 Apr 2006 09:50
13/21
Smelly wrote:
Regardless of who stole the idea off who or not.

Nintendo have one thing in their favour - nintendos back catalog!

As for the 360, I already have a pc with mame on it.

And I have an Xbox with MAME, NES, SNES, and N64 emulators on it (amongst others).

If you're into illegal ROM collecting, then both 360 and Revo services are redundant.

Joji 22 Apr 2006 11:33
14/21
Lads, lads, Calm down.

I feel I should step in with my piece of pie. Have a slice.

MS have done well with Xbox Live and fairplay to that, as much as I like twisting the knife in their back Live is a damn good service. Had a go on my friends and it brings a whole new angle to gaming that is built upon what pc games have done in the past but better and more accessible.

Taking the PC as a good example its had multiplayer games for ages as well as online ones. In contrast to that Nintendo have tried download services, Satellaview on SNES and there was even a service briefly on NES too. For both MS and Nintendo to have similar services is just better for us as consumers, regardless of who done what first, someone always has to take the first step so others can follow.

I remeber shortly after I'd joined Spong, a survey like article was done in MCV trade mag asking us some questions (point them in the direction of the MCV thing from ages ago, please Spong). One of the questions was have you ever downloaded emulated games (or something like that)? I said I had, but only really old stuff that no one plays anyone plus certain arcade gems (since the arcade is dying, only we can really keep it alive). I also said that if there was a legal alternaitve to using illegal emus I'd be more likely to use it, also if the pricing is good too (that part is vital).

Fast forward to the now, and Xbox Live and Rev are on the brink of giving us just that. Doesn't matter who went first on what. Just enjoy the games and keep gaming alive. To get the most enjoyment buy all three consoles if you can.

vault 13 22 Apr 2006 15:07
15/21
Just peek under the NES, SNES, and N64(dunno if it actually had one) and you'll see a covered pin connector. It's really cool that Nintendo was trying to do something so revolutionary (heh) waaaay back in the day. I wonder if anyone have done anything with those ports. Like hooking up some of those programmable lego PC kits and turn it into a cartridge chucking tank of 8-bit doom.

As for the whole cashing in on retro, the only thing that irks me is the fact that I'm buying games over and over. I don't mind if there revamped, well I do a little. But I remember paying crazy amounts of money back in the day for these things and now they expect me to pay again. To quote Mr. Horse, "No sir, I don't like it." But then I hate all micro/macro/mini/99 cent/etc. payment structures. It pains me that I have to spend $2.49 on my cell phone just to hear Weird Al chime in with how I'm supposed to eat bananas and light snacks. I own the f**kin' cds! I've got the DVDs. I cut a lock of his hair! Give me the tools to make my own!!!
elkatas 23 Apr 2006 09:40
16/21
Actually...

Microsoft is ripping Nintendo and Sega pretty badly. Both Sega and Nintendo had their first game download system during 90's. First was Sega Channel, that began in 1994 as a consortium between Sega of America, Inc., Telecommunications, Inc. (TCI) and Time Warner Entertainment Company. Channel had following features

- Costed approximately $12.95 /month (depending on your location)
- Download up to 50 games a month
- 24 hours a day
- Previews of games to be released
- Unlimited playing time
- Game playing tips, video game news
- Sega game guide

Nintendo started its own Satellaview system in Japan during 1995. It had quite similar features to Sega Channel, but in addition it also had new, exclusive content* and digital copy of local Nintendo Power. It was actually quite successfull in Japan and did ran till 2001.

* Some examples are new Zelda game, Super Excite Bike, Chrono Trigger music player and Super Punch-Out
vault 13 23 Apr 2006 14:49
17/21
Well it seems everyone is ripping off the creator of Space Wars because they're all making video games. The argument needs to end.

And anyway Nintendo had plans with the original NES to have some sort of online service. Just flip that badboy over. Whether or not it came out before Sega doesn't really matter. We're talking about ripping off ideas here. Remember the Master System had no such deal. So infact EVERYONE is ripping off Nintendo. Or one could argue the old IBM PCs and C64s with their online hacks and illegial software downloading. So we can nitpick, but the cows are about to come home.

Oh has anyone played the Zelda BS (true name, no gimmick), it's the one for the Satellaview that the previous poster mentioned. You can download the rom online. It's weird. Definitely not as good. They f**k with the map and the dungeons, obviously to create a new adventure. One cool thing is the inclusion of a timer, which activates things at different times. So you could actually miss the blue ring vendor. Odd stuff indeed.
Smelly 24 Apr 2006 07:36
18/21
vault 13 wrote:
It pains me that I have to spend $2.49 on my cell phone just to hear Weird Al chime in with how I'm supposed to eat bananas and light snacks. I own the f**kin' cds! I've got the DVDs. I cut a lock of his hair! Give me the tools to make my own!!!




Erm, When you get a new phone nowadays they DO give you the tools to make your own? And If they dont, free downloadable tools are easy to get.

Only a complete moron woul pay to download ringtones/wallpapers/etc.
king skins 24 Apr 2006 08:37
19/21
OptimusP wrote:
Still, a bunch of arcade games and some SEGA-games will probably not outtrump Nintendo's HUGE back-catalog combined with the back-catalog of Square, Namco, Capcom and more but competition is always nice for the end-user.


When was this anounced/Where did you get this information? Square, Namco, Capcom would be impressive
OptimusP 24 Apr 2006 11:47
20/21
Right, have to correct myself... again...(own fault though) with the possible back-catalog of Capcom and Namco and ect.
The things is George Harrison said when asked if third-parties would join in with their back-catalog on the VC he said "the usual suspects are onboard" so capcom, Namco and Square are viable.
Kaiser 22 Jun 2007 22:00
21/21
[QUOTE]Hmmm Microsoft is at it again...If we can't create our own unique ideas we will copy it and try to improve it. How sad.[/QUOTE}

There's nothing with wrong with taking an idea and trying to improve on it (see: Japanese car industry in the 80s). Just be happy that 360 owners now have access to the classics.
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