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Who is XBLA for?

jclastjclast Registered User regular
edited April 2007 in Games and Technology
I was surprised to read in today's new post that Tycho believes (due to Microsoft's mission statement for the service) that XBLA is aimed at casual players. For those of you that are scared of the PA main page, here is the pertinent text.
Live Arcade is actually a subset of Microsoft Casual Games, so while the hardcore certainly appreciate weekly content infusions and clamor when they are not timely, we were never its aim. The purpose of Live Arcade is to make their platform a valid mainstream play. Marketplace has a wider purview, but Live Arcade is designed to deliver a certain kind of inoffensive, family-oriented product and it does so. Until recently, the scope of these products was also enforced through a stringent filesize restriction.

Microsoft's position here (as elsewhere in their empire) is to establish the platform and then let partners create the real value. This means that for games in miniature, ready to deliver, they have often sought out players who are already doing the same thing on their other connected gaming platform - you've seen this content before, in many cases. You can contrast that with Sony's approach, which has thus far been to channel much, much less content of vastly higher polish, often from teams that are first party or powerfully aided thereby. I don't actually know which one consumers prefer, I can't see the deep stats - I simply find these disparities fascinating.

Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market. It could also be argued that the 360 isn't a platform aimed at the casual gamer either. Most of what they want to play is available on the PC. Prices for individual games there may be higher (Heavy Weapon is $10 on XBLA but $20 (I believe) on Popcap's site), but there is no buy-in cost as most people already own a computer and said computer wasn't purchased solely for playing games.

I'm not sure if there's a debate here or not, but I'd be interested to see whether filling the arcade with more games that appeal to the non-casual gamer would generate them more money and, more importantly to us, more games to play.

I'm not sure what sort of gamer they'd categorize me as, but the arcade games I've got are:
- Boom Boom Rocket (it may have mass appeal for being pretty but it gets damn hard, unavailable eslewhere)
- Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank (available on the web for $20)
- Hexic HD (available on the web for free)
- Root Beer Tapper (also gets phenomenally hard at later levels, available on the web for free)

jclast on
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Posts

  • chasmchasm Ill-tempered Texan Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I know lots of guys whose girlfriends have gotten into gaming because of XBLA, so he does have a point. It does draw in the casual gamer.

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  • AccualtAccualt Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I think XBLA mixes it up. It leans more towards the casual and nostalgic but I imagine that has more to do with how easy and cheap it is to get games like Pac-Man on there.

  • SandersSanders Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    XBLA- Great for pick up and play games, when you don't know how long you got.

    For example, if I am waiting for somebody to pick me up, I'm not going to jump on Gears of war and play a ranked match of Raven Down. I can jump on uno and play a quick hand or two.

  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    yeah, XBLA has a bit of everything. But i'll tell you, for sure there is TONS of casual content on the arcade.

    Zuma, bejeweled, all the rest of those crappy puzzle games that nobody should ever spend 10 bucks on. As well as all those a lot of the games you can just pick up and play for 10 or 20 min and be done.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • AoiAoi Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    jclast wrote: »
    I was surprised to read in today's new post that Tycho believes (due to Microsoft's mission statement for the service) that XBLA is aimed at casual players. For those of you that are scared of the PA main page, here is the pertinent text.
    Live Arcade is actually a subset of Microsoft Casual Games, so while the hardcore certainly appreciate weekly content infusions and clamor when they are not timely, we were never its aim. The purpose of Live Arcade is to make their platform a valid mainstream play. Marketplace has a wider purview, but Live Arcade is designed to deliver a certain kind of inoffensive, family-oriented product and it does so. Until recently, the scope of these products was also enforced through a stringent filesize restriction.

    Microsoft's position here (as elsewhere in their empire) is to establish the platform and then let partners create the real value. This means that for games in miniature, ready to deliver, they have often sought out players who are already doing the same thing on their other connected gaming platform - you've seen this content before, in many cases. You can contrast that with Sony's approach, which has thus far been to channel much, much less content of vastly higher polish, often from teams that are first party or powerfully aided thereby. I don't actually know which one consumers prefer, I can't see the deep stats - I simply find these disparities fascinating.

    Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market. It could also be argued that the 360 isn't a platform aimed at the casual gamer either. Most of what they want to play is available on the PC. Prices for individual games there may be higher (Heavy Weapon is $10 on XBLA but $20 (I believe) on Popcap's site), but there is no buy-in cost as most people already own a computer and said computer wasn't purchased solely for playing games.

    I'm not sure if there's a debate here or not, but I'd be interested to see whether filling the arcade with more games that appeal to the non-casual gamer would generate them more money and, more importantly to us, more games to play.

    I'm not sure what sort of gamer they'd categorize me as, but the arcade games I've got are:
    - Boom Boom Rocket (it may have mass appeal for being pretty but it gets damn hard, unavailable eslewhere)
    - Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank (available on the web for $20)
    - Hexic HD (available on the web for free)
    - Root Beer Tapper (also gets phenomenally hard at later levels, available on the web for free)


    That's the thing though, most of them really do follow the casual gaming formula, and that includes games like Root Beer Tapper. They're short, easy to play games (even though the difficulty does get exponentially harder), but the point is that the initial pick up and play aspect has little to no actual curve to it. Whenever I've went someplace like Gameworks with non gaming friends, it's the old school games like Galaga, Pac Man, etc that really draw the non gamers in. At the same time, these kinds of games do a good job at drawing in the non"casual" gamer in as well. Matter of fact, I recently hit the 25 game mark with the arcade.

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  • KNYTEKNYTE Registered User
    edited April 2007
    IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN! WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?

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  • sabyulsabyul Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Worms online. Until of course the DS and PSP offerings.

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  • ToyDToyD Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    See ticker in Sig. I like XBLA beacuse most of the normal games, like Gears of War, aren't appropriate for me to play in front of my kid. So Boom Boom Rocket here I come.

    Also, Mini golf is a fun waste of time, Worms is kick ass and my son likes to roll around the marble in Marble Blast Ultra. He's 2 so we stick to the beginner trial level where you can't fall off.

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  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I mean lately, really the only thing i'm playing on the 360 is the arcade.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • Greg USNGreg USN Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    Zuma, bejeweled, all the rest of those crappy puzzle games that nobody should ever spend 10 bucks on.

    Zuma is awsome D: That game spread like wild fire around my ship when we were on deployment...

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  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    yeah, i kinda like zuma too.

    my girlfriend is like, zuma queen, she loves it.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It really depends on your definition of casual/hardcore. I think the distinction is the amount of time and dedication required. XBLA games are generally pick-up-and-play sort of games, and I think all kinds of gamers can appreciate the value of that. Boom Boom Rocket is a casual game because you can easily play it in 15 minute chunks, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I definitely appreciate being able to play a game on a whim and just as easily stop playing when I feel like it. With the price tag of 360 games, I don't pick one up unless I'm damn sure about it, and I generally get more time out of my money from XBLA games. I got my 360 a couple months ago; I have 2 360 games and 7 XBLA games(including Hexic HD which I don't play).

  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I'm new to the system, but I've got one honest-to-God 360 game (Kameo), 4 arcade games (Hexic and the 3 I purchased), and the 3 Burger King games.

    I just think it's interesting that MS is trying to capture and/or appeal to the casual market with a $300/$400 console.

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  • AoiAoi Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zek wrote: »
    It really depends on your definition of casual/hardcore. I think the distinction is the amount of time and dedication required. XBLA games are generally pick-up-and-play sort of games, and I think all kinds of gamers can appreciate the value of that. Boom Boom Rocket is a casual game because you can easily play it in 15 minute chunks, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I definitely appreciate being able to play a game on a whim and just as easily stop playing when I feel like it. With the price tag of 360 games, I don't pick one up unless I'm damn sure about it, and I generally get more time out of my money from XBLA games. I got my 360 a couple months ago; I have 2 360 games and 7 XBLA games(including Hexic HD which I don't play).

    As a note, Tetris is arguably the biggest casual title ever. Everyone and their non gaming mom was obsessed with it at some point in time, and it is utterly unmerciful at later levels. Casual doesn't just mean easy.

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  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Greg USN wrote: »
    Zephos wrote: »
    Zuma, bejeweled, all the rest of those crappy puzzle games that nobody should ever spend 10 bucks on.

    Zuma is awsome D: That game spread like wild fire around my ship when we were on deployment...

    I tried the demo, and using a controller for Zuma feels awkward compared to using the mouse. This strikes me as odd though because Heavy Weapon, another Popcap game, controls wonderfully with the 360 controller, but I hate the mouse controls.

    I guess Heavy Weapon just really benefits from having 2 sticks while Zuma really benefits from the mouse pointer giving me a better idea where the marble is going.

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  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    jclast wrote: »
    I'm new to the system, but I've got one honest-to-God 360 game (Kameo), 4 arcade games (Hexic and the 3 I purchased), and the 3 Burger King games.

    I just think it's interesting that MS is trying to capture and/or appeal to the casual market with a $300/$400 console.

    but its not just the casual market...


    its the people in your home, its something for them to see, and look at you playing and say "oh i want to try that." It's sort of a gateway drug if you will.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Aoi wrote: »
    Zek wrote: »
    It really depends on your definition of casual/hardcore. I think the distinction is the amount of time and dedication required. XBLA games are generally pick-up-and-play sort of games, and I think all kinds of gamers can appreciate the value of that. Boom Boom Rocket is a casual game because you can easily play it in 15 minute chunks, but that doesn't mean it's easy. I definitely appreciate being able to play a game on a whim and just as easily stop playing when I feel like it. With the price tag of 360 games, I don't pick one up unless I'm damn sure about it, and I generally get more time out of my money from XBLA games. I got my 360 a couple months ago; I have 2 360 games and 7 XBLA games(including Hexic HD which I don't play).

    As a note, Tetris is arguably the biggest casual title ever. Everyone and their non gaming mom was obsessed with it at some point in time, and it is utterly unmerciful at later levels. Casual doesn't just mean easy.

    I didn't mean to imply in to OP that casual meant easy. I meant to imply that a steep difficulty increase is more prone to drive off the casual gamer than the dedicated one. For example, I still can't beat the punk bar in Root Beer Tapper, but I keep trying. Most non-gamers and casual gamers I've seen play it have gotten pissed at how hard it was and not played it again.

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  • FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    30 XBLA arcade titles and counting. I spend a shitload of cash there.

    Who is it for? Me... all me. It's for me!

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  • fragglefartfragglefart Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I fucking love XBLA.

    For reals, best thing in gaming since the Mega Drive.

    It has my wallet.

    fragglefart.jpg
  • DesertBoxDesertBox Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Contrary to the op, I think Smash TV, Heavy Weapon, and Contra all fall under 'casual' as per my definition. It takes 15 seconds to figure out the controls and the levels are measured in minutes, not hours. Hell, Contra takes like 30 minutes to beat but you'll die long before that if you don't use THE CODE. I guess I'm trying to say that casual does not necessarily mean puzzles. It just has to be quick to learn and advance.

    Spoiler:
  • CarnivoreCarnivore Registered User
    edited April 2007
    I like playing Geometry Wars when guests are round who have never played video games (like aunties, uncles etc) and it fucks with their mind so bad.

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  • fragglefartfragglefart Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Carnivore wrote: »
    I like playing Geometry Wars when guests are round who have never played video games (like aunties, uncles etc) and it fucks with their mind so bad.

    :lol:

    That is like, the ant-Wii train of thought.

    :^:

    fragglefart.jpg
  • GABBO GABBO GABBOGABBO GABBO GABBO Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    I mean lately, really the only thing i'm playing on the 360 is the arcade.

    Same here.
    If I know I have 3 or 4 hours to kill, I'll sit down at my PC and pop in an RPG, but if I'm just killing time until the wife gets home I'm all over the arcade.

  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    i have 1200 points burning a hole in my pocket right now. i've been holding out for a good wednesday release, but i may cave and buy i dont even know what.

    i already have most the "Big" ones.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • GABBO GABBO GABBOGABBO GABBO GABBO Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    i have 1200 points burning a hole in my pocket right now. i've been holding out for a good wednesday release, but i may cave and buy i dont even know what.

    i already have most the "Big" ones.

    Have you tried that pinball demo? I downloaded it, but I haven't played it yet.

  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    i have not, maybe i'll download that and the mini golf demo right now.


    i'm not a huge pinball fan, so i'll probably pass on that.

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • CarnivoreCarnivore Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Manifest wrote: »
    Zephos wrote: »
    i have 1200 points burning a hole in my pocket right now. i've been holding out for a good wednesday release, but i may cave and buy i dont even know what.

    i already have most the "Big" ones.

    Have you tried that pinball demo? I downloaded it, but I haven't played it yet.

    Alien Hominid HD is an absolute steal.

    Releives stress like nothing in this world.

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  • Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User
    edited April 2007
    It's not really for me. Only XBLA game I have is still Hexic; I've considered buying some more, but ancient arcade games really don't interest me and the more current stuff... I don't really care what the discrepancy in price would be, I'd rather have a boxed PSOne copy of SotN, a PS2 Lumines Plus and, I dunno, Doom 3 on XBox, maybe. I value tangible possessions far too highly. I bought into Steam, but it was either that or wait for ages for HL2/Portal et al and I'm way too much of a Valve fanboy.

    I like what they're doing and I have caught myself thinking "I wish this was on Live" every now and then - I wish The Red Star could have been on there - but it's not really for me. Does that make me hardcore? :oops:

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  • GABBO GABBO GABBOGABBO GABBO GABBO Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    i have not, maybe i'll download that and the mini golf demo right now.


    i'm not a huge pinball fan, so i'll probably pass on that.

    That mini golf demo is ass-tastic.
    Listen to the dude who said to get Alien Hominid. It's pretty good.
    Or Outpost Koloki. That game is WAY fucking underrated.

  • ZephosZephos Climbin in yo ski lifts, snatchin your people up. MichiganRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    i mean i have most the "big" names

    I have bought.
    Alien Hominid
    Boom Boom Rocket
    Castlevania SOTN
    Doom
    Geometry Wars
    Small arms
    TMNT 1989 Arcade
    Worms

    Ones I received for free.
    Contra
    Frogger
    Joust


    I think I remember trying Koloki, is that the space station one?

    Xbox One/360: Penguin McCool
  • fragglefartfragglefart Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Manifest wrote: »
    Zephos wrote: »
    i have not, maybe i'll download that and the mini golf demo right now.


    i'm not a huge pinball fan, so i'll probably pass on that.

    That mini golf demo is ass-tastic.
    Listen to the dude who said to get Alien Hominid. It's pretty good.
    Or Outpost Koloki. That game is WAY fucking underrated.

    i think Koloki is the only game I have not bought, that I think I ought to. Everyone who has it says it is cool.

    That, and maybe Wiki.

    fragglefart.jpg
  • jclastjclast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos, try the demo of Heavy Weapon. It's probably not for everyone, but if it's for you you'll know it, and demo mode lets you go through at least the first five missions of the single-player mode (that's where I died anyhow), and it lets you play 5 minutes of survival mode. As you're playing it, imagine how much better it would be with three other tanks out there controlled by PAers.

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  • RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I don't really think of XBLA as being aimed at casual gamers since that implies easy games which definitely doesn't describe many of the offerings on the service. Rather, I think it's name is an excellent description: it's XBox Live ARCADE. It's a home arcade. Although many of the games never showed up in the arcades, pretty much all of them follow the arcade style of being games that are easy to figure out how to play and don't require a large time investment. I don't see this as being a casual thing at all since the better games on the service have plenty of depth and you could easily spend hours at a time playing them (as I have on games like Lumines Live, SOTN, Heavy Weapon, and Mutant Storm). And though I enjoy long epic RPGs as much as the next person, sometimes it's nice to take a short break and just shoot things (or form squares, or explode fireworks, or shoot a few holes of mini golf, etc.).

    EDIT: I second jclast's recommendation of Heavy Weapon. Also keep in mind that the difficulty level goes up drastically in later levels (or later times in survival mode) so don't let the tameness of the first few levels throw you off; if you last long enough, you'll get to face bullet hells that rival the best arcade shmups.

  • GABBO GABBO GABBOGABBO GABBO GABBO Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    i mean i have most the "big" names

    I have bought.
    Alien Hominid
    Boom Boom Rocket
    Castlevania SOTN
    Doom
    Geometry Wars
    Small arms
    TMNT 1989 Arcade
    Worms

    Ones I received for free.
    Contra
    Frogger
    Joust


    I think I remember trying Koloki, is that the space station one?


    Yes and it is very fun.

  • slash000slash000 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    jclast wrote: »
    Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market.



    I d'no.. Contra, Doom, and UMK3 were all pretty mainstream when they came out, and I think a lot of mainstream gamers would still buy them for the nostalgia trip.


    As far as family-oriented content, though, it falls short on that aspect (assuming it's MS's aim, but who really knows what that is).

  • DesertBoxDesertBox Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Anyone bought Eets Chowdown? Played the demo and it was pretty cool, but easy. Does the challenge ramp up?

    Spoiler:
  • djklaydjklay Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Zephos wrote: »
    yeah, i kinda like zuma too.

    my girlfriend is like, zuma queen, she loves it.

    My friend and his gf love zuma, everytime I visit one of them is playing it (usually his gf). It's a decent puzzle game but I cannot get into it myself after playing it so much at their place.

  • cemetery mancemetery man Registered User
    edited April 2007
    Luxor is pretty fun, I think I'm going to buy the full version.

  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    edited April 2007
    slash000 wrote: »
    jclast wrote: »
    Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market.



    I d'no.. Contra, Doom, and UMK3 were all pretty mainstream when they came out, and I think a lot of mainstream gamers would still buy them for the nostalgia trip.


    As far as family-oriented content, though, it falls short on that aspect (assuming it's MS's aim, but who really knows what that is).
    Bejeweled, Hardwood Backgammon, Uno, Settlers of Catan, and a wealth of other family oriented games are there. They just don't see the hype train here because folks at PA don't talk about how awesome online backgammon is.

  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    syndalis wrote: »
    slash000 wrote: »
    jclast wrote: »
    Now, I'm not about to tell MS what their mission statement and/or intent for the XBLA service ought to be, but I don't think that they're following it. Games like Alien Hominid HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra, DOOM, Heavy Weapon, Smash TV, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 don't really appeal to the traditional casual market.



    I d'no.. Contra, Doom, and UMK3 were all pretty mainstream when they came out, and I think a lot of mainstream gamers would still buy them for the nostalgia trip.


    As far as family-oriented content, though, it falls short on that aspect (assuming it's MS's aim, but who really knows what that is).
    Bejeweled, Hardwood Backgammon, Uno, Settlers of Catan, and a wealth of other family oriented games are there. They just don't see the hype train here because folks at PA don't talk about how awesome online backgammon is.

    Well, I remember there being a lot of talk about Uno on here for some reason.

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