CES 2010 Breaking News: Microsoft Announces "Microsoft Game Room" for Xbox 360 and PC with tons of Classic Gaming Goodness!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft Game Room ImageMicrosoft Game Room ImageAccording to a Microsoft Press Release and confirmed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will be releasing something called the "Microsoft Game Room" some time this spring, and, within three years, will see the release of over 1000 classic videogame titles, including arcade, Atari and Mattel Intellivision games, the latter of which was confirmed by Facebook friend Keith Robinson of Blue Sky Rangers fame as one of the available launch systems (other systems TBC). Apparently this area will be avatar-based, where your Xbox avatar will roam an arcade-like setting to find and play games (a bit like Sony's Home on PS3). There's a two-tier price structure, with one being an outright purchase of the game in question, and the other being a low cost, single play option, just like putting a quarter in an arcade machine in the days of old. We'll keep you posted as more news develops, but this is great news for those of us - like the readers of Armchair Arcade - who are passionate about classic gaming. The more love the current three consoles give (and each already has given a lot) to gaming's past, the better it is for all us as gamers, particularly since it looks like this is going to be a long generation with the big three. It's unclear how this will work with the PC as of this writing, but the fact that PC gamers are being invited to the party just makes it all the better, as well as the fact that owning it on one gives you access to it on the other.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
They already have this

They already have this without avatars, its called Gametap. Its to bad Gametap didnt get in on this market with consoles, now MS will use (not going to say steal as its not even gametaps original idea, they just dids it the best (so far)) the idea and kill gametap. While MS putting its might behind this can sometimes mean good things, I dont see it. Gametap has no limits on size (you can bet MS will for those 20 gig xboxs) and that will mean fewer games. Gametap currently pays the owners per use so good games get more money, poor games... MS has some pretty interesting pay tiers for LIVE, and hardly any are really good for the developers and owners other then the ability to be out in such a high profile market (which MS controls the advertising on). I know, I know, Im so anti MS it can cloud my opinions. I like my 360, even liked my Xbox (excellent media player) but I keep looking down the raod to a MS dominated console world and it scares me.

Bill Loguidice
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We've been subscribers to

We've been subscribers to and fans of Gametap as well in the past, though they've been having trouble keeping licenses to games and that's an issue (their library shouldn't ebb and flow the way it does, just increase in size). They've evolved the service from proprietary software with their own "TV" shows to Web-based software and just focused on games. I was always favorable to the service, but the issue with Gametap is that being restricted to PC and its disparate (and often fickle) users who tend to prefer free to pay, is a tough way to make it in this business. It's far easier to get a console crowd to bite who tends to favor simplicity and access, even if it costs them.

There is no ulterior Microsoft motive here, really, if you ask me. This is nothing more than putting a fancy shell on for instance what Nintendo is offering on their Wii console with the Virtual Console, or extending what Sony has done with their half-baked Home service on the PS3. I look forward to seeing what Microsoft comes up with, because of all the others - particularly on the console side - they seem to "get" the whole interface/online experience thing. There is no danger with Microsoft dominating in the console world, so there's no reason not to let them use their expertise to do things right. All three have their positives and negatives, so there's nothing wrong with Microsoft showing the right way to do things now and again.

Naturally the argument against this is why would I want to play, for instance, an Intellivision game on my Xbox 360, when I can play it for "free" on an emulator on the PC. It's about the rights holders getting paid (whoever they may be) and playing something legally, of course, which should always be a person's first choice when the price is fair, but above all - as is always the case with console implementations of these things - taking 100% of the hassle out of the emulation. You see a game, you buy a game, it works. Period. That's worth some dinero in my book.

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Mark Vergeer
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'Virtual arcade' thing....

Well it would be cool if our avatars could meet up in this Virtual Arcade and just hang out - talk and play games and watch each other play. I am for sure going to try this out guys!

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
pricing

I wonder what the pricing is like for the game publishers & developers. I've never really been able to find out what the console makers fees are like. With Apple it's easy - buy the standard hardware (an iPod touch or iPhone), pay $99 per year plus 30% of revenue. I also found out that anyone can e-publish with Amazon (for Kindle) and Amazon takes a whopping 65%.

Bill Loguidice
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Catatonic wrote:

I wonder what the pricing is like for the game publishers & developers. I've never really been able to find out what the console makers fees are like. With Apple it's easy - buy the standard hardware (an iPod touch or iPhone), pay $99 per year plus 30% of revenue. I also found out that anyone can e-publish with Amazon (for Kindle) and Amazon takes a whopping 65%.

If you're a sole content provider in the Amazon case, getting 45% of the sale price back to you is actually rather good. I don't know what the percentages exactly are as an author who works for publishers, but I know we get far less than 45% of each sale.

As for the other question, this is from the Wikipedia entry:
XNA Community Games

Xbox 360 games written in XNA Game Studio can be submitted to the Creators Club community, for which premium membership is required, this costs US$49 for 4 months or US$99/year. All games submitted to the community are subjected to peer review by other creators. If the game passes review then it is listed on Xbox Live Marketplace. Creators can set a price of 80, 240 or 400 points for their game. The creator is paid 70% of the total revenue from their game sales as a baseline. Microsoft originally planned to take an additional percentage of revenue if they provided additional marketing for a game, but this policy was rescinded in March 2009, leaving the flat rate intact regardless of promotion.[16]

Microsoft also distributes a free year premium Creators Club subscription for educational establishments through their DreamSpark program and MSDNAA. These accounts allow students to develop games for the Xbox 360, but a premium Xbox Live account is still required to submit the game for the Marketplace.

That's not awful for an individual or small teams, though it's my understanding that some devs are not happy about general Xbox Live policies and have decided to stop supporting it.

I'm not sure what the numbers are like for "real" Xbox Live Arcade publishing.

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Mark Vergeer
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XNA Game Indie games not available in PAL territories....

This lovely Indie game service the Americans are enjoying on their 360s sadly is not available in PAL country. Which is a shame as one would think licensing in THIS case would NOT be a problem as Microsoft is all taking care of that right?

Still. this kind of thing pisses people off....

PS3: MarkVergeer | Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Catatonic
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Thanks, Bill. I didn't see

Thanks, Bill. I didn't see the XNA article before. Looks very reasonable to me. It definitely looks like the future is in downloadable games - at least on handheld systems - Sony & Nintendo want to replicate the success of iPod touch business model. Except Apple is being much friendlier to independent developers, even kids in their basement can publish a game.

Bill Loguidice
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Microsoft Arcade video - pretty cool

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Rowdy Rob
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This actually looks really cool

I like the fact that there will be a PC version of this. If Microsoft would port "Fight Night" to the PC, then between that and Microsoft Game Room, I'd really have no incentive at all to purchase an XBox 360. I was going to purchase the XBox360 just for Fight Night, but I thought "why clutter up my house for just one game?"

I wonder how this will affect the emulation scene? If Microsoft is going to start selling these games that are widely available in emulation, I wonder if they are going to use their mighty clout to try to restrict access to these emulated games?

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Bill Loguidice
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Don't necessarily agree
Rowdy Rob wrote:

I like the fact that there will be a PC version of this. If Microsoft would port "Fight Night" to the PC, then between that and Microsoft Game Room, I'd really have no incentive at all to purchase an XBox 360. I was going to purchase the XBox360 just for Fight Night, but I thought "why clutter up my house for just one game?"

Well, Fight Night is EA and their support of the PC with sports games is always sporadic. I must say, while I enjoy the latest Fight Night, it just doesn't have the same impact for me as the previous game, oddly enough. It's better in many ways, but lost a certain something in the improvement. Crazy, I know. Fight Night is one of those games on an every two years schedule, so I look forward to the next iteration (Round 5) perhaps getting some of the personality of the Round 3 version back.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

I wonder how this will affect the emulation scene? If Microsoft is going to start selling these games that are widely available in emulation, I wonder if they are going to use their mighty clout to try to restrict access to these emulated games?

Again, this is nothing new. Nintendo has tons of emulated games via their virtual console on the Wii. All three platforms have emulated and enhanced emulated versions of classic arcade and console games already. If anything, the only ones going after emulation sites and what-not would be the rights holders, not the platform holders like a Microsoft. If anyone would want them shut down, it would be Nintendo, because the Wii is the only place to legally emulate Nintendo system games, and even they haven't exactly gone on a legal rampage.

Bottom line, pricing seems reasonable and there's enough value adds here for people like me who have tons of versions of the same game to consider repurchasing yet again. Hopefully there will be some cross-platform action as well. I'd love to play against PC owners like you and Matt, for instance, who probably will never get a hold of an Xbox 360 while it's a current gen system.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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