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Xbox Live Arcade Running Out of Gas…

Recently I was involved in recording Live on Live, a gamers roundtable here at XBL Radio, and the topic “Is the Live Arcade falling short?” came up. It made for an interesting conversation. However the topic ended up in a united decision: The Arcade isn’t what it should be.

Just today I came across this article online :

 GameTap, Turner Broadcasting System’s “broadband entertainment network” will hit 1000 games available to subscribers on Nov. 15. A good portion of the games are new titles, while a majority are classic games you can’t normally play without dragging out the old consoles from mom and/or dad’s attic. GameTap also keeps a pretty solid list of free games available for non-subscribers .

Meanwhile computer owners can endulge in emulator add-ons. Usually giving the user the ability to play thousands of retro-arcade titles. And let’s not forget about all of the other sites that offer “free to member” gaming:

Free to play addictive and fun.

 Games and prizes. Free membership required.

 Known as Uproar a place to play for free online.

 Addictive puzzle games and tourneys.

 Tied to you MSN account.

Now I’m not trying to diss the Live Arcade; I’m just posing the question why US gamers would pay 10 to 15 bucks on average for one arcade title. Is it co-op play? Is it the hi-def graphics? Or is it the Achievements? Whatever it is I am losing interest. And most of my Online Friends seem to feel the same way. So whats the solution?

Here is my remedy. The word Arcade implies a nastalgic feeling of the Aracades of old. You remember; the time when a roll of quarters was all you needed to pass the day away. Why not offer the same with many of the Arcade titles on Live?

Examples

Convert the POINTS into tokens: One token per play. And just like days of old you would have to add credits if you wanted to continue after your lives are up. This would bring back the feel of the Arcade. It would also enable more gamers to enjoy a variety of titles and achievements. And if you’re truely  compelled to play offline, make the game still available to purchace.

Have varied/different pricing: Let’s face it, some games are worth more than others. However MS seems to think that pricing is simplistic. 800 and up for good games and 400 for crap. (Yes I said it CRAP-Games you shouldn’t be buying in the first place) Why not let the buyers dictate the Marketplace. If the game truely is regurgitated pixels, why not sell it as such. I would like to think most of the vintage games (Frogger, Pac-Man, Defender, Galaga, etc…) are not worth more than a game like Geo Wars. Pricing should reflect that!

And finally Reward your Fanbase: I think this goes without saying. There are many of us who whould gladly pay more per year to get more from their online gaming service. Those “Gold” members should be priority number one. Thus why not implement a “GOLD PLUS” package. Think of it as a privledged member card where if you pay a nominal fee you have access to the Arcade. This would mean (while signed into LIVE with the PLUS members gamertag) you can play everything. A true Arcade! It seems to work for GAMETAP.

Now keep in mind this is just my observation. However I really want to know how you feel. Which method, or name your own, do you think would satisfy our Arcade desires. Because if our only reward, as LIVE members, is a free game like YARIS, we are definitely running on empty!

  • Carpal, you and I have talked about this before and this has always been one of those topics that I couldn’t agree with you more, we know that this is a money maker, if not gametap would have went under by now. I guess the question is, is it enough of a money maker for MS to change ways?

  • The arcade should try and go with not just one, but all of these ideas if they want to keep this service living above water. The plus idea is the best of the bunch, even though you have to pay more, you get to play all of these games at one set price, instead of being nickled and dimed all the time.