As part of his regular podcast
, Microsoft's Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry 'Major Nelson' Hryb has interviewed fellow Microsoft employee and Xbox Live Arcade Group Manager Greg Canessa, regarding the past, present and future of Xbox Live Arcade.
Canessa commented that there are 15 titles currently available on Xbox 360 Live Arcade, and that 3 more titles would be available for download and purchase by the end of January - GarageGames' 3D title Marble Blast Ultra
, a puzzle title from iWin named Jewel Quest
, and the remake of classic Mac action title Crystal Quest
Also discussed was Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting
, which is being produced in conjunction with Capcom, and includes features such as 'Quarter Match Play', where players will virtually "stand in line" to play the reigning champion on the game. The game is scheduled around the late February to March time frame.
Canessa also chatted about the expansion of interest in Xbox Live Arcade even from "large publishers, in some cases", citing responses such as "we want to do 20 titles" or "We're starting up a division to do [Xbox Live] Arcade titles" from the un-named majors, who are also working on pitching "new content they want to develop for Arcade using their intellectual property."
Overall, Microsoft is hoping to release around 3 games each month on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360, but looking to expand that even further - Canessa commented that he "thinks there's an appetite for 5 or 6 a month", and has so far committed to 35 titles by summer. In addition, Canessa discussed offering download-quality games for free 'presented by' a sponsor, but in "a very limited number" of cases. The first game will be Texas Hold 'Em Poker
, presented in conjunction with casino company River Belle - though obviously, players will not be able to bet real money.
The relatively little-known fact that Xbox 360 Live Arcade downloadable games are roamable, via memory card, was also noted. On the machine it's downloaded to, everyone who has a profile can play the game. You can also take games to your friend's house on a memory card, sign on to Xbox Live via your Gamertag, and you can play the game there.
Finally, Canessa, whose Gamertag is apparently 'Silversurfer', also revealed several interesting asides in the podcast, noting that one particular Xbox 360 gamer has already reached a staggering Gamerscore of 18,000, and that, within Microsoft, the mercurial J Allard was apparently the first employee (under the Gamertag 'HiroProtagonist') to make it to a Gamerscore of 10,000.