When Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 console in 2005, it also launched Xbox Live Arcade, a downloadable game service designed for smaller game titles that wouldn't be sold as stand alone retail games. Since then, however, a number of Xbox Live Arcade games have become more complex, with deep gameplay, impressive graphics and an overall design that rivals, and in some cases beats, a number of game sold in retail stores on disks.
So does that mean that Xbox Live Arcade could, as a service, go away with Microsoft simply selling and promoting downloadable games on the Xbox 360 as games, period? Vox Games posed that question to Michael Wolf, the global marketing manager for XBLA Microsoft Studios. His answer? Xbox Live Arcade will in fact go away ... someday. He states:
Personally, I'd say absolutely, yes. I think digital distribution has to be like that. I don't think XBLA will be leaving soon. It is an incredible platform. We have XBLA fans, I don't think it's going to be announced anytime soon. One thing Microsoft has proven is that we continue to try and adapt and innovate in experiences.
With Microsoft already selling downloadable versions of Xbox 360 retail boxed games (usually several months after they appear on store shelves), the idea of the Xbox Live Arcade service ending at some point is not far fetched anymore.