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The End of Video Game Retail Stores?

Filed under: Xbox 360
Posted by Allison on October 14, 2005 11:32 AM
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Microsoft has today issued a press release announcing heavyweight support for the Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360. Now, not only will gamers have the opportunity to download "arcade" games like Bejeweled 2, Jewel Quest and Zuma, but, with the announcement that publishers and developers like Atari, Capcom, Codemasters, EA, Konami, Namco, SEGA and Ubisoft (to name a few), it seems gamers will soon be able to download big title games via Xbox Live. While this news is quite exciting, Joystiq is predicting the demise of video game retail stores because of it.

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Joystiq suggests the current emphasis retailers are putting on the sale of used games is only going to make publishers push harder for this new direct-to-consumer channel option, and, apparently, they don't feel retail stores can survive on used games alone. Personally, I don't know how to feel about it, as we do know these stores have a greater profit margin on used games, but will there be any used games if the originals come via download? The times, they are a changin'.

Microsoft Press Release

Microsoft Unveils New Market for Bite-Sized Game Titles as Industry Heavyweights Pledge Support for Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Peter Moore to Reveal Highly-Anticipated Holiday Titles and Supporting Publishers to Digital Life Consumer Technology Audience

At the Digital Life consumer technology showcase in New York, Microsoft will reveal the launch window portfolio for Xbox Live ? Arcade for Xbox 360.

Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide marketing and publishing for Xbox at Microsoft, will announce in his Digital Life keynote speech the highly-anticipated Xbox Live Arcade launch titles, supported by the world?s leading publishers including Electronic Arts, Midway Home Entertainment, Capcom, Vivendi Universal Games, Konami, SEGA and Hudson Soft.

?The next generation of Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 will enhance the gaming experience for casual and competitive gamers alike, across the globe, providing something for everyone with world-class games and captivating content,? said Moore.

Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 will launch in the U.S. and Canada on November 22, 2005, simultaneous with the North American launch of the Xbox 360 console. Similarly, the European and Japanese versions of Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 will launch alongside the European and Japanese console launches on December 2 and December 10, respectively. The next-generation Xbox Live Arcade online service will be fully integrated into the Xbox 360 Dashboard providing a central destination for Xbox 360 gamers to download new games, access their game collections, check out new releases and experience around-the-game features.

The Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 launch portfolio will include the following titles through Holiday 2005:

? Astropop - Popcap Games
? Bankshot Billiards 2 - pixelStorm, Inc
? Bejeweled 2 - Popcap Games
? Crystal Quest - Stainless Games
? Feeding Frenzy - Popcap Games
? Gauntlet - Midway Home Entertainment
? Geometry Wars 2 - Bizarre Creations
? Hardwood Backgammon - Silver Creek Entertainment
? Hardwood Hearts - Silver Creek Entertainment
? Hardwood Spades - Silver Creek Entertainment
? Hexic ? HD - Microsoft Game Studios
? Hoopworld - Streamline Studios
? Jewel Quest - iWin.com
? Joust - Midway Home Entertainment
? Marble Blast Ultra - GarageGames
? Mutant Storm Reloaded - PomPom Games
? Outpost Kaloki - Wahoo Studios
? Robotron 2084 - Midway Home Entertainment
? SmashTV - Midway Home Entertainment
? Wik: Fable of Souls - Reflexive Entertainment
? Zuma - Popcap Games

As an added bonus, the full version of ?Hexic HD,? the Xbox Live Arcade puzzle game, will be included free of charge with every Xbox 360 System at launch. Designed by world famous Tetris? creator Alexey Pajitnov, ?Hexic HD? will be preloaded on the Xbox 360 hard drive.

Additionally, Peter Moore will announce that more than 40 publishers and developers have signed on to support Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 with game titles. These partners include:

? Atari
? Bizarre Creations
? Capcom
? Codemasters
? CTXM
? Digital Eclipse
? Electronic Arts
? Empire Interactive
? Gaia Studios
? GameHouse Studios
? Garage Games
? Gastronaut Studios
? Hamster
? Harmonix
? HipSoft
? Hudson Soft
? iWin
? Konami
? Llamasoft
? Load, Inc
? Mad Doc Software
? Majesco
? Microsoft Game Studios
? Midway Home Entertainment
? Mumbo Jumbo (United Developers)
? Naked Sky Entertainment
? Namco
? Oberon Media
? Pick Up And Play
? pixelStorm, Inc
? PlayFirst
? PomPom Games
? Popcap Games
? Q Entertainment
? RealNetworks, Inc
? Reflexive Entertainment
? Secret Lair Studios
? SEGA
? Silver Creek Entertainment
? SNK Playmore
? Stainless Games
? Streamline Studios
? Tik Games
? Ubisoft
? uWink
? Vivendi Universal Games
? Wahoo Studios
? Wanako Games
? Wild Tangent

Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360 will consistently release new games to the service for gamers to download, with 35 titles planned by summer 2006. Gamers can choose from a variety of genres including action arcade titles, coin-op and retro classics, puzzle games, casual sports games, light strategy titles and card & board games. Games will come from the world?s leading publishers as well as console developers, downloadable game shops and smaller developers alike, creating a great mix of classic favorites and truly innovative titles for the gamer to choose from.

?We?re proud to be part of Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360, the world?s first and only destination where gamers can find, download and buy smaller games directly to their console,? said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. ?Retro, casual and hardcore gamers will be pleased to have access to the selection of quality SEGA titles we plan to offer via the new Xbox Live Arcade.?

Xbox Live Arcade is powered by Xbox Live Marketplace, enabling gamers to quickly and easily download and unlock Xbox Live Arcade games. Every game in the Xbox Live Arcade will have a free, fully playable trial version that any Xbox Live Gold or Silver member can download onto their hard drive or memory unit.

NOTE: Earlier this week (10/11/05), Microsoft and RealNetworks, Inc announced plans to collaborate in the casual games arena. In this games partnership, RealNetworks will develop a series of new casual games for Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360.

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live continues to transform and unite Xbox communities worldwide, with a presence in 24 countries, and a global community of more than 2 million members. As the first global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live offers world class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com.









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