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Small Arms Dude1up was recently able to talk with Xbox Live Arcade Group Manager Greg Canessa about the plans for the service in the future. According to Canessa, Microsoft really wants to commit to having new content hit the Live Arcade every Wednesday. While they have only announced titles through August, their plan is to get 50 titles available on Xbox Live Arcade by the end of the year. With the current 20-something titles available now, this would mean that nearly every week will bring a new game to the Arcade. Canessa also indicated that Microsoft is working with over 100 independent game developers as well as most of the major studios for Arcade content. Included in the following waves of titles will be Small Arms by Gastronaut, targeted for this fall. Other potential titles include Mutant Storm Empire and Popcap’s Heavy Weapon. Questions about a new Geometry Wars or an Arcade title from Bungie were met with a strong “no comment.”

Read More | 1up



The first screenshots of the new Xbox Live Arcade titles are starting to hit the web, and GameWatch in Japan has the goods on the upcoming releases. GameWatch features shots of Pac-Man, Frogger, and Galaga in the classic game modes, and one of Frogger’s side-by-side play. The menu screens indicate that there will be demo versions released of at least Pac-Man and Galaga. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shots of the promised enhanced versions of the games, unless adding a slick background counts. Hopefully gamers will get new versions similar to the updates featured in Namco Museum Battle Collection for the PSP.

Read More | GameWatch Japan

Xbox Live Arcade

While Microsoft was unable to pull back their early Xbox Live Wednesdays announcement, there was one tidbit of information that was kept secret until the Summer of Xbox Live event in San Francisco. Left for the exclusive party was the pricing for the new games; Gamespot was able to get the details. Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting and Cloning Clyde will debut at 800 points, $10 at current marketplace pricing. Dedicated fans of Capcom’s fighting games will probably find their $10 well invested, assuming that lag is kept to a minimum in online play. Cloning Clyde will probably need a good demo to get sell through at its price point. Pac-Man, Frogger, and Galaga will all come in at 400 points, or around $5. Considering the number of games that usually make up the Namco Museum collections, this pricing seems a little high. Perhaps online play and enhanced graphics will make these worth the money. Microsoft also could not promise that Xbox Live Wednesdays would last beyond August 9. New Xbox Live Arcade releases have been spotty since launch. Having five weeks of uninterrupted new Xbox Live Arcade games is great, but it would be nice to have a more reliable stream of casual gaming experiences.

Read More | Gamespot

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Small Arms XBLA logo Small Arms, a shooter/brawler Xbox Live Arcade title due out later this year, has implemented a new kind of achievement.  The achievement is titled “Six Degrees of Small Arms” and will spread through Xbox Live in a viral fashion.  When the game is released, only four members of Gastronaut studios will have the achievement.  The achievement will spread to anyone they play, and from that player to other opponents, and so on.  This is an example of a great Xbox Live achievement and is miles ahead of the “get on the leaderboard” achievements we have been seeing so much of lately.

Read More | 1Up

Street Fighter 2 screenEarlier today Microsoft announced “Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays.”  Basically, Microsoft is saying that we will be getting one new arcade game per week during the summer, each and every Wednesday. The initial five week run begins tomorrow at GMT 0800 starting with Frogger. That will be followed up by Cloning Clyde, Galaga, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, and Pac-Man. TThat’s right peeps - Street Fighter II finally has a release date, and it’s scheduled to drop on the Xbox 360 on August 2.  Since the original post on Gamasutra, Microsoft has stated that the information will not be released until a later time.  Thankfully The information is still available elsewhere on the internet.

Read More | Xboxic

Xbox 360 Microsoft’s Marketplace points don’t always translate over into real currency. In the United States, at current retail prices, the conversion is fairly easy since gamers can divide the points total by 80 to get the dollar amount. Other territories won’t necessarily have it so easy, so Steve Hunter has put together a little tool to tell exactly how much that Penny Arcade picture pack is going to cost you. Simply enter the number of marketplace points, and find out how much that would cost in US Dollars, British Pounds, Euro, Canadian and Australian dollars, and Japanese Yen. It looks like at current conversion rates, Australians get the best deal.

Read More | Marketplace Points Converter via Major Nelson

PopCap=One of the leaders in casual gaming, Popcap is turning 6 today, with minor fanfare. So far, all there is on their site is a PopCap logo with birthday candles on it (pictured to the right). If you’re a casual gamer and haven’t heard of Popcap before, go there now and prepare to be addicted. PopCap has produced many of the most-downloaded casual games online including mega-hits like Bejeweled and Zuma. They also recently won 2005 Casual Game of the Year for their newer hit Chuzzle.

For the more tech-inclined of y’all, PopCap is also a major supporter of independent developers - they’ve developed some easy-to-use tools for game development via the completely free PopCap Games Framework. In fact, games like Insaniquarium, Rocket Mania, and Pixelus were all developed with game creators outside of PopCap.

Good work guys! Here’s looking forward to many happy returns!

Read More | PopCap.com

Live Arcade UnpluggedLast week, rumors circulated that hard copy versions of the popular Xbox Live Arcade titles would be hitting retail stores, in one form or another. Gamespot has some limited details about the package and its contents. Gamespot was able to grab box art images from a retail game distributor, and according to the box, the packaging will include Geometry Wars and a 1-month subscription to Xbox Live.

In addition, other titles will likely make it into the retail box, possibly including Bejeweled, Outpost Kaloki X, and Wik: Fable of Souls. Gamespot was careful to caution that the box art is not final, and the contents are likely to change. If the pricing on the EBGames website is to believed, the package will retail for $39.99. One hopes that the games included total at least 3200 marketplace points worth of content.

Read More | Gamespot

Total Video Games has found out more information about the upcoming Xbox Live Retail disc.  Xbox Live Unplugged is tentatively scheduled for an October release at roughly $30 USD.  The package will include a one month Xbox Live Gold subscription as well as the following games.

-Geometry Wars Evolved
-Texas Hold ‘Em Poker
-Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
-Outpost Kaloki X
-Wik: Fable of Souls
-Hardwood Backgammon

Microsoft views this as a method of reaching out to casual gamers who may not know about the Xbox Live Arcade games.  The question is, will a retail disc in the Xbox 360 section of a store really attract new gamers to the 360 and ultimately the Xbox Live Arcade? 

Read More | Total Video Games

Xbox Live LogoWord on the street is that Peter Moore has been discussing with industry insiders the possibility of bringing Xbox Live Arcade games into a brick-and-mortar store near you.  The move is aimed to reach the 50% of Xbox 360 owners who aren’t connected to Live.  Moore also hopes to reach the legions of casual gamers who may not yet know about the laid back, retro, puzzle solving side of the Xbox 360.  Microsoft isn’t commenting on the plans, so no info on pricing or which titles wil jump to retail is yet available. 

Read More | Next Generation