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Microsoft Talks About The Death of Xbox Live Arcade

Posted on March 2, 2012 AT 06:39pm

THE BUZZ: Michael Wolf, the global marketing manager for XBLA Microsoft Studios, was asked if the Xbox Live Arcade will go away someday. His answer might surprise you.

EGM’s TAKE: So, this comes from a interview conducted with Mr. Wolf by tech website The Verge. Wolf is asked if, eventually, the Xbox Live Arcade will cease to exist.

“Personally, I’d say absolutely, yes,” Wolf said in response to the question. “I think digital distribution has to be like that. I don’t think XBLA will be leaving soon. It is an incredible platform. We have XBLA fans, I don’t think it’s going to be announced anytime soon. One thing Microsoft has proven is that we continue to try and adapt and innovate in experiences.”

So, he thinks that Microsoft will kill off XBLA someday? If you get over how that comment first sounds, it actually makes perfect sense. Xbox Live Arcade started as a very simple idea back on the original Xbox; when that idea was moved onto the Xbox 360, its entire plan was as a method for smaller, more casual games to be able to exist on the console without having to be put on a disc and sold in retail stores.

Over time, the very concept of digital distribution has drastically shifted. The rules and regulations for XBLA have changed multiple times since the Xbox 360′s launch, as policies for size limits and allowed game types have had to be updated to keep up with the times. Heck, even the name itself—Xbox Live Arcade—now sounds outdated, as the service is providing far more than just arcade-style experiences.

“Look at some of the depth and detail of some of the games coming out,” Wolf continues in the discussion with The Verge. “Look at Alan Wake, this is a very deep and immersive game. It was Remedy’s decision to focus in and deliver it to Xbox Live Arcade.”

Think about Valve’s Steam service on the PC. There, games are games—without the need to segregate them by size, style, or development background. The death of the Xbox Live Arcade wouldn’t mean the loss of the type of games that now populate it—it would mean a more focused approach to digital distribution where all games can, and should, be equal.

Will the next Xbox still have a service on it called Xbox Live Arcade—or will all of the digital games live together as one happy family? That’s a tough call to make at this point, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that question in the comments below.


Source: The Verge

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got started via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as can realistically be crammed in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk Eric on Twitter: @Eric_EGM. Meet the rest of the crew.

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