By now you have probably heard of the news that Microsoft will be bringing virtual arcades to Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live. In these virtual game rooms players will be able to buy arcade machines to place there as well as different themes that players can use to “trick out” your arcade. After you pay $5 for the game, you then buy credits to play it with at .50¢ a pop. It’s a neat little idea for their service although I personally wouldn’t feel the need to do this. I find it surprising that players will be charged 50¢ a credit though – I don’t know of any real arcade that would charge that much per play on classics like these and they have to pay much more than $5 to get a real cabinet. 25¢ would make more sense but the console companies could never really bring themselves to use actual microtransactions like they originally promised to. Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report has more on this, after the break.
Breaking Stinger News – During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2010 show and Microsoft revealed at their keynote presentation at the major electronics event that they would be launching a ‘Games Room’ for the players’ avatar – where they can go online and create a virtual-arcade customized with representations of classic arcade cabinets. Games from Konami, Atari and Intellivision are the initial supporters of the service – new games planned to be launched each week (aiming for 1,000 games in three years). Users of the online Xbox Live Arcade service will be able to buy new cabinets to populate their virtual arcade – paying between 240 and 400 Microsoft(MS) Points (the virtual money used on the service – equally roughly 400 = $5). Along with creating a virtual arcade – the players avatar can play the various arcade games – the games charged at 40 MS Points (.50 cents) per game.
This move by Microsoft comes after Sony and their ‘Play Station Home’ and its own central meeting space gaming arcade (‘Game Space’) – that also allows players avatars to play games… for a price (predominately Namco content). The consumer game industry emulating directly the amusement industry application – even down to charging a ‘pay-to-play’ fee; it has been a continuing process that the consumer game industry has been looking to monetorise their investment in the online sector, and after the failure of aspirations to charge for tournament gaming, this latest move seems to steal directly form the concept of amusement – while the consumer games media continues to write off the industry as dead!