Published July 14, 2006
SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox 360 may exemplify the high-tech future of video game consoles, but the company is hoping some of its avid players still pine for the good old days of Pac-Man and Frogger.
Microsoft plans Wednesday to offer some additional updated versions of popular 1980s-era games through Xbox Live Arcade, an online service that lets people download free trial games and buy them for $5 to $15.
The company will offer a game every Wednesday for the next five weeks, including some retro games with higher-end graphics and new ways to play together. The first game on offer is the log-hopping, traffic-dodging classic, Frogger.
Greg Canessa, a group manager for Xbox Live Arcade, said the downloadable games service has been surprisingly successful for the company.
About 5 million free trial games have been downloaded by Xbox 360 owners, he said, and 21.7 percent of those have been "converted," meaning a person decided to pay for the permanent version.
Many people initially thought the Xbox Live Arcade, with its focus on less complex games, would be a potential draw for children, women or older players who don't fit the young male demographic traditionally associated with Xbox 360 owners.
But Canessa said they've found that even the so-called hardcore gamers are interested in the arcade games and willing to pay for them.
Microsoft currently has 20 arcade games available for sale to people who own an Xbox 360, the second iteration of Microsoft's video game console. Canessa said they hope to have about 50 titles available by the end of the year.