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Microsoft: Live Arcade cull will force developers to focus on quality

Mon 02 Jun 2008 11:05am GMT / 7:05am EDT / 4:05am PDT
Publishing

New policy won't affect Community Games service, says Greenberg

Microsoft has said that the decision to delist under performing Xbox Live Arcade titles will force developers to focus on better quality games.

Titles which have a Metacritic rating of less than 65 per cent, have been on the service for at least six months and have a trial conversion rate of less than 6 per cent are due for the chop from the download service this autumn.

Director of product management, Aaron Greenberg, has also told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes developers will still be willing to experiment with niche or new concepts, rather than adopting safe gameplay in order to receive a high score and stay on the service.

"I really don't think we will see that at all, in fact many unique style games typically get stronger reviews because they stand out from the pack," he said.

"If anything you will see developers take more time, make use of the new additional storage space and focus on game quality now more than ever to ensure the title is well received."

Xbox Live Arcade has been criticised in the past for a glut of poor titles, making it difficult for users to find quality games in a crowded digital market. As well as forcing developers to tighten quality control, Microsoft is also planning its own in-house Live Arcade team to lead the way with downloadable content.

"What we are saying is that our focus with Xbox Live Arcade is going to be on quality over quantity," offered Greenberg.

"We are also thinking about the future of the service and want to ensure that new Xbox 360 owners that come into XBLA for the first time have a great experience. We believe that with this focus, the increased size limits and the investment in our first-party studio you will see XBLA games continue to improve throughout the year."

Although Microsoft is still quiet on the amount of titles to be delisted in 2008, Greenberg said the cull will not begin until after the summer, with users and developers receiving at least three months notice.

He also stated that this new policy will not have any affects on the proposed Community Games project due to launch later this year, which will showcase games created using Microsoft's XNA tools.

"This program only applies to Xbox Live Arcade, Community Games created with XNA do not go through the same submission and certification process and since they are developed by community members are less likely to have review scores assigned to them like Xbox Live Arcade titles," clarified Greenberg.

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