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Long Live Xbox Live Arcade 66

Edge Online has a piece up talking about the success of Xbox Live Arcade. They wonder out loud if the Live Arcade won't end up being the most important next-gen platform in this round of the console wars. From the article: "Live Arcade's conversion rate - the proportion of people who upgrade the demo to the full, paid-for version - is extraordinarily high, according to Canessa: 'The industry average on PC is about 0.8 per cent to one per cent, and in the first generation of Arcade we were hitting about 8.5 per cent, which was fantastic. But in this generation of Arcade we're hitting up to 35 per cent, and averaging over 20 per cent across all the titles. I mean, we had to check the data to make sure it wasn't a mistake. It's absolutely unheard of.'"
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Long Live Xbox Live Arcade

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  • live arcade (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apoc06 ( 853263 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:08PM (#14942673)
    teh arcade is a great draw, but the real success is geometry wars. its a runaway smash with alot of buzz. that and the lack of a wide variety of solid retail titles. buying a full version of a demo for a fraction of the cost of a regular x360 title [and happens to be more fun] is a no brainer. when the AAA x360 titles arrive, maybe thats when we should compare numbers.

    basically people have a $400 machine and are dying to play something on it. no big deal. but for the time being, they need to give geometry wars most of the credit there.
    • Re:live arcade (Score:3, Interesting)

      by psocccer ( 105399 )

      teh arcade is a great draw, but the real success is geometry wars. its a runaway smash with alot of buzz.

      I think this really describes it, I wonder how many of that 8% conversion is just people who bought geometry wars. A friend of mine got a 360 and a few games and they were OK, but we got bored of them pretty quick (DOA and Burnout) since it was mostly more of the same we had already been playing (DOA ultimate and .... well Burnout). I heard about the geometry wars thing here and told my friend about

    • by tgd ( 2822 )
      I've bought quite a few games off there (Marble Madness, Zuma, Bejeweled 2, and that frog one thats totally escaping me right now...). The funny thing is I play Geometry Wars a lot, and I don't have the slightest inclination to buy it because I can't manage to get close to running out the four minute demo.

      You've got amazing reflexes or have been popping speed pills if you're able to get that far! I'm clearly too old to do it myself.
      • My friend was the same way. Last time I visited him he showed me that game (knows I'm a sucker for any kind of shooter). I immediatly decimated his measily 18k high score. Quickly I found that it takes a very analytical mind plus good reflexes to get that game down (reflexes are the most important). I don't have a link, but I think the best score attained so far has been somewheres around 12 mil. Makes my 128k seem like chump change. Then again, I've only been able to play it a few times. If I did s
    • I've got my copy of Geometry Wars on my PGR3 disk. Is there a way to move it to the 360's hard drive so I don't have to load up PGR3 all the time?
      • Re:live arcade (Score:3, Informative)

        by Saige ( 53303 )
        PGR3 only has the demo version of Geometry Wars. You can download the demo from Live Arcade to get the same thing there.

        The full version is only available for purchase through XBLA.
    • Re:live arcade (Score:3, Informative)

      by bigman2003 ( 671309 )
      Geometry Wars is good, but it is not my favorite XBLA game.

      That goes to Mutant Storm. A game I can actually 'finish'. Geometry Wars is just too damn hard. It is a good game, but hard.

      I like the 'level' format that Mutant Storm has.
      • Re:live arcade (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apoc06 ( 853263 )
        the funny thing is i own the original mutant storm for xbox. i downloaded it from their early incarnation of live arcade. it runs at high res too. this is regular xbox here mind you.

        the let down is that it costs $400 to play a few titles that could very well run on the $150 xboxes we already own.
        • Re:live arcade (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bigman2003 ( 671309 )
          But for me, these arcade games are just the little sprinkles on top of the icing on the cake.

          Ghost Recon- now that is the cake- and the icing.
          Call of Duty- lotsa cake, but some fucked up icing.
          PGR 3 - carrot cake- which is cake, but I hate all of the guys on line who have a fit when you rub fenders with them. How is it that a single game can attract so many self-righteous jerks who feel that I am being an asshole, just because I am not GOOD at a game, and therefore can't drive in a straight line?

          Hell, I've
          • i think my beef is that these downloads are not across the board. i can access xbox arcade via my xbox1, but i can not download robotron or geometry wars or any of the like, because they are optimized for the x360 architecture, and MS doesnt care enough to create a port for us older users.

            i dont care about nice shiny graphics either; but i would be lying if i said that they didnt enhance an otherwise good experience. to me, the graphics are the icing. a solid involved game is its own reward, but now i need
            • And when more GRAW and CoD2 type titles come out, you'll probably be first in line to say that the 360 is awash with GRAW and CoD2 type titles. Go and buy one. Now. GRAW, CoD2, PGR3, Condemned and the like are more than worth $400.
              • i dont mean that i specifically want more squad based shooters and FPSs. i mean i want to see a few more titles that are polished to thier level. i want to know that there will be quality titles in multiple genres for me to play by the time i dish out to buy mine.
    • basically people have a $400 machine and are dying to play something on it. no big deal. but for the time being, they need to give geometry wars most of the credit there.

      Oh, like the PC []!
  • New Market Strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Slant675 ( 168902 ) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:08PM (#14942677) Homepage
    There's really no wonder why this tactic works. The user ir provided with the ability to actually get hands-on experience with the product (one of the games from Arcade) and is able to play a decent amount of it. After this experience, much like iTunes, the user is able to simply hit a few buttons, enter a few bits of data (if that) and have the full version of the game they just became addicted to within minutes! This is a much better system since the user has to do nearly nothing except enjoy playing a game in order to be sold on the product. It is truely a new era: They already purchased something they wanted (an Xbox 360), now they are doing something they wanted to do (playing a game), and are able to obtain that same game without leaving their home!
    • I don't think the trial versions are the main factor why XBox Live Arcade titles are doing so well.

      I think the main factor is the marketplace points. Consumers are making the purchase not with real money, but with some abstract points. What's 400 points when you still have 1600 left. Making purchases doesn't feel like you're spending any money. That, I think, is the real reason why the titles have such a high conversion rate.
      • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:01PM (#14943171) Homepage
        I agree with you that the points thing is important.

        But it is not just because it isn't 'real money'.

        I buy XBLA games because it is EASY. I don't have to go find my wallet and take out my card. I don't have to type in a bunch of numbers, I don't have to fill out any personal information and wonder how much spam I am requesting. I don't have to worry about whether or not my information is going to the Russian mafia.

        I just click the 'buy this' button, and I'm done. Easy on-line purchasing has finally arrived. And I'm willing to give them $50 every few months (load up my points) to make it happen. Even putting in more money is easy.

        I really don't give a shit about $50, or $100. I don't mind spending it if the process is easy, and it seems like I am getting something for my money. This just works well.

        Imagine if QVC could do the same thing...
        • So ... they came up with the iTunes music store for games then? Or Amazon's one click shopping?

          This is the wave of the future from five years ago :-)
          •'s not like iTunes, because the content is in HD, not Shit-D.

            Amazon doesn't do the pre-payment. You get charged each time you make a purchase. Which you then have to deal with on your credit card bill. With XBLA I only charge my credit card occasionally.

            And with Amazon, of course you don't get what you ordered right away, the usually have to ship it to you.

            Except for things like audiobooks. Which is a *bad* thing to order from Amazon for compatibility reasons. (Do they still do audiobooks?)
    • Here's what I'm curious about though... If you buy a game off the Live Marketplace/Arcade/whatever... and then your Xbox dies and you have to get a new one, are you capable of redownloading all the games you already paid for again or does Microsoft want you to have to buy them all over again now?
      • Yes, you can download the games again.

        On the first version of Xbox/Live, the games were tied to your Xbox.

        Now they are tied to your gamertag. You can put your Live account info on a memory card, bring it to a friend's house, and download all of your games there.

        When your Xbox Live account has been removed (you went back home) your friend will be left with the demo versions of the games.
        • by Saige ( 53303 ) <> on Friday March 17, 2006 @02:06PM (#14943242) Journal
          XBLA games are tied to both the box they were downloaded on, and the gamertag that bought them.

          You can put them on a memory card and play at a friend's place - if they have access to XBLA, then they can play the full version as long as your gamertag is logged in, and even copy it to their hard drive. But once your GT is gone, they revert to demo versions.

          However, the box you bought them on has the full version available for every person who uses that 360. So you could technically be playing two copies of that game at the same time - one on the box you bought it on, and one on another with the buying gamertag logged in. And yes, this is intentional.

          If the box you buy it on dies, and you end up with a replacement, you can redownload the game, but then you lose the ability to have other accounts play the full version without the purchasing one being logged in. You can try calling support in such a case - more than once they've worked with people who have had to send in their Xbox to get fresh versions on their new Xbox that properly link to that box.
  • Excellent! (Score:2, Interesting)

    I think this is great! But at the same time, I think seeing the situation one year from now will really tell the tale. Anyone who gets a new system is going to likely get the "whole experience" right away. And then, after paying for the year of service, if they stick around... that will be the true measure of how well people accept/like/obsess about the Live service.

    But it's still a great achievement.
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:3, Informative)

      by ab8ten ( 551673 )
      But Live! Arcade is part of the no-fee section of Live! You only need to pay a subscription if you want to play muliplayer online. The content download, high score tables etc. parts of Live! are free.
  • There isn't anything else to play on the 360 right now. There's what, maybe 20 full titles out right now. About half of them are any good. A quarter might garner repeat play. I'm not dissin' 360, all I'm saying is the numbers are skewed. Plus the numbers for XBox were taken over almost the complete life of the system compared to the few months the 360 has been out. Come back in 3 years and we'll probably see about 8.5%. The reason the PC numbers are so low is due to the fact that there are far more d
  • Who'da thunk? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interiot ( 50685 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:28PM (#14942889) Homepage
    WHO KNEW these activities would be popular???
    • Flash-based downloadable games
    • Being able to IM your friends, no matter what game they're in
    • High-score lists
    Okay, granted, it wasn't clear that this stuff would readily trasnfer to consoles, and still be popular. What I don't get is, now that one console has shown these are far and away very popular, why other consoles don't pick up on it ASAP?

    I guess, to some extent, we have to wait and see whether Sony's PNP or Nintendo's online service do these things. But given how unenthusiastically the companies have been dragged into having a centralized online service, and the likelihood that Sony will focus on trying to sell its other media assets, and might neglect the gaming aspects of the online service (central IM, high-score lists, and there's still room for more features).

  • Arcade could have been so much more if MS had included a bigger hard drive. People would love to download full retail games, not only smaller games like Mutant Storm and Geometry Wars, but their diskspace will be severely limited to only a couple of titles at a time. If only the internet were faster, Live users could subscribe to streamed games. Alas, that's too much to hope for in this generation of consoles.
    • Re:Bottleneck (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bigman2003 ( 671309 )
      Actually, it is a little bit worse than that.

      If Microsoft had made the hard-drive STANDARD we could have downloaded bigger games.

      For a game to be put on Xbox Live Arcade, it MUST fit on a memory card.

      But then again, I don't think any of the games are even close to filling that.
      • That brings up another point! What the hell is the point of a memory card when you have a hard drive!? So you can continue your 60 hour RPG at your friend's house? How sociable!
        • I would think it's more for if you want to bring your garage from a racing game over
        • You can move your Xbox Live account onto your memory card, so you can play at a friend's house and still each achievements and get on scoreboards and play online. Along with bringing over data from a game so you can get all your unlocked characters/cars/created content.

          • So you need to buy physical medium to access your online profile and data? Yikes!! That's like swiping your driver's license into a computer to check your Gmail.
            • Your profile is more than just a username and password. All the achievements are tracked locally (which enables earning them offline and connecting to live later), and there's a significant amount of data associated with that specific profile, such as various settings. By default, this is stored on the HD of the 360 (if you have one), but moving it to the memory card enables portability.

              There is also only one instance of the account allowed to be in existence at once, due to various syncing issues. You c
  • "Per cent"?

    Isn't it "Percent"?

    Maybe from a math standpoint they might be the same thing...

  • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
    I have mixed feelings about services like this.

    On one hand, I find it ironic that the most popular feature of a four hundred dollar console primarily propagandized as ZOMG POWREFUL is a service that lets you download games that could run on ten-year-old consoles.

    On the other hand, I'm excited for what could be the "return" of the arcade, shifting from a physical place to an online service

  • The reason people are buying these is becase they have too much money, as evidenced by buying a Xbox360 at this point in the game, and having spent all that moneny and not being able to buy many games, a few cheap downloads start looking pretty attractive. Once prices come down, and somehting resembling mainstream buyers enter the market this situation will correct itself.
    • You point out an interesting demographic, the Early Adopter. Early Adopters either have more disposable income or have a credit card problem. Also, the timing of bringing out more arcade games in future lulls of game releases will help the trend, too.
    • I'm afraid I have some really bad news for you.

      A 2006 season pass lift ticket at Whistler is $1,329.
      A 2005 kawasaki jet ski will run you around $10,000.
      A great home theater system will run you at least $2000.

      $400 for a gaming console that you will use heavily for several years is perfectly reasonable, especially when contrasted with typical alternatives that the target Xbox360 audience might select from. It's not even that exclusive of an audience - the recommended entertaintment spending for somebody with
  • "No one will buy a $400 console just to play $5 games"

    It is a $300 console, but you are still correct.

    Many many people, although, will select a $300 360 over a $600 PS3 when these $5 games are also in the equation.
    • the $300 version of the xbox is not "complete". titles have already surfaced that /require/ the harddrive. if you buy a core version, youre SoL if you want to play all titles.

      the trolling is starting to get out of hand. you dont know the price of the ps3 yet, and i dont see how you found a way to bring in a swipe at the ps3 when the topic is about the xbox live arcade...

      for all we know sony could pull a coup and release the "full" ps3 at the same price as the core x360. not unheard of for sony.

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