Ever since the XBox Live Arcade went online with the launch of the XBox 360, there’s been a steady flow of new games being released every week. I’ve always taken a certain satisfaction in knowing that all the games always would be there for download if I ever got an urge to give some of them a shot that I’d missed when they originally sprang onto the marketplace. And indeed, I occasionally do go back and sample the older wares, and it’s cool to see such a huge selection still available and growing by the week. Granted, a lot of it is arguably crap, but I like to think the consumers can make educated decisions on what they want to spend their hard earned Microsoft Points to purchase.
No longer! Marc Whitten, the general manager of XBox Live, has announced that Microsoft is about to start yanking poorly performing older games from the service. The criteria for a game to be pulled from the service include:
- The game is more than six months old.
- The Metacritic rating for the game is below 65%.
- The conversion rate for the game is less than 6% (meaning that less than 6% of people who download the demo end up unlocking the full game).
Metacritic is a site that collects review scores from various websites for games, movies, music, TV shows, and DVDs, and presents an overall collaborative score for easy digestion. It’s always lurking in the corner for game companies and developers, as many consider the Metacritic score the real benchmark for how good a game is and how well received it is by the general public. This is the first time I can recall hearing a major company cite it as a tool for determining their business practices, though.
Microsoft will be giving three months’ notice before removing games from the Arcade. At the end of those three months, the game will be zapped into the ether, never to be buyable again. If you already own the game after that time, you’ll still be able to play it online and off, and you’ll be able to redownload it as long as you’ve already purchased it.