A sub-channel of the Xbox Games Store (formerly Xbox Live Marketplace), Xbox Live Arcade (or XBLA
for short) launched November of 2004 for the original Xbox
and just one year after Steam
, and was the third digital distribution channel for a video game console. The service expanded to mobile in 2010 with the release of Windows Phone 7 and to PCs and tablets with Windows 8 in 2012. It is possible, though few games have implemented it yet, to release a game on any combination of console, phone, and PC and have interoperability with each other such as playing on one device and picking up where you left off on another.
The service's main titles seem to be Casual Video Games
, but other games such as updated re-releases
and original titles are also available. For the most part, the service is split into a number of main categories:
- Xbox Live Arcade Games — The main focus of the channel.
- Xbox Live Arcade Kinect Games — Xbox Live Arcade games that makes use of the Kinect sensor, with or without controller support.
- Xbox Live Indie Games* — Exactly What It Says on the Tin; the first attempt by any major console publisher to accept homebrew games. It takes $99 a year to publish games, and rules are often draconian (albeit for a reason), but it's a start.
- Games on Demand — Downloadable original Xbox and Xbox 360 games ranging in quality from Grand Theft Auto IV to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
- Xbox Windows and Xbox Windows Phone — As you can guess, these are Xbox Live-enabled titles released on Windows Phones and Windows 8/RT PCs and tablets that feature the same functions such as Achievements and leaderboards as console games and are capable of interoperability with each other. Previously PC games released under the Games for Windows Live brand were capable of Achievements, but not nearly as tightly integrated with the rest of the service.
- And Game Add-ons.
Compare with Play Station Network
, and DSiWare
Notable Xbox Live Arcade titles include:
Xbox Live Arcade Games
Xbox Live Indie Games
Games On Demand
Windows Phone Games: