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Xbox network, formerly named Xbox Live, is the online multiplayer gaming and digital media service for Microsoft's Xbox brand of consoles. It is home to the Xbox Games Store (formerly Xbox Live Marketplace).

It previously featured Xbox Live Arcade (or XBLA for short), which featured a number of small downloadable games. XBLA launched November of 2004 for the original Xbox, 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 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.

XBLA's main titles seemed to be Casual Video Games, but other games such as updated re-releases and original titles were also available. For the most part, the service was split into a number of main categories:

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  • 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 Gamesnote  — as the name suggests, the first attempt by any major console publisher to accept homebrew games. It took $99 a year to publish games, and rules were often draconian (albeit for a reason), but it's a start. It stopped accepting new developers and annual development license renewals on September 9, 2015. Existing developers could continue making games until the same day a year later in 2016. The XBLIG store itself was shut down sometime in October 2017.
  • Games on Demand — Downloadable original Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games ranging in quality from Grand Theft Auto IV to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
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  • Xbox for Windows Phone and Xbox for Windows — As you can guess, these are Xbox Live-enabled titles released on Windows Phones and Windows 8/RT/8.1/10 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 (defunct) 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.

Beginning with the Xbox One, the "Xbox Live Arcade" branding was dropped by Microsoft in favor of having all types of games grouped together on the Xbox Games Store, especially since digitally downloaded games have become increasingly the norm. In March 2021, Microsoft rebranded the service to "Xbox network" (yes, with a lowercase n) to distinguish their Xbox Live Gold subscription model from the underlying network that services the Xbox family.

Compare with Play Station Network, WiiWare, and DSiWare.


Notable Xbox Live Arcade titles include:

Xbox Live Arcade Games

Xbox Live Indie Games

Games On Demand

Windows Phone Games


Alternative Title(s): Xbox Live Arcade

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