Xbox Live

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Posted by bender 04/02/2009 @ 18:07

Tags : xbox live, video games, entertainment

News headlines
Star Trek DAC for Xbox Live Arcade hands-on - CNET News
Its movie-based multiplayer shooter, Star Trek: DAC, hits Xbox Live Arcade Wednesday, exclusively for the 360, costing you a cool-as-Spock 800 points. What does DAC mean? We don't know. And you don't get to know that until you play through the game...
Battlefield 1943 - GameZone
Now, DICE is readying to release their first iteration of the series for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network, Battlefield 1943. A title that will be available exclusively for download services (a downloadable PC version is also on the way),...
Grand Theft Auto 4 Cheats - Xbox 360 - XboxSolution
Jasper: do you need the xbox live card if you have the wireless network adapter??? Jason Rybka: @roughneck0101 Yeah there is a lot of tweaks that need to be made but I'm going to keep it simple... Rich Reed: @Brian, Did you read the other questions and...
Wolfenstein 3D Coming to Xbox Live Arcade - TeamXbox
Ahead of an official announcement, the bad boys over at Xbox.com have revealed that Activision plans to port the classic Wolfenstein 3D to Xbox Live Arcade. A page for the game went up on Xbox.com and since it is possible it is taken down once...
FEAR 2: Project Origin Armored Front Map Pack Coming to Xbox LIVE ... - Dream Station
Beginning May 21, FEAR 2: Project Origin fans will be able to download the new “Armored Front” map pack for a whole new multiplayer experience for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and playstation®Network for the...
Xbox 360 rumor madness: Metal Gear Solid 4 on the way (and ... - CrunchGear
“Xbox Live is brought to you by MGS 4… available now!” So that I'd consider totally plausible. E3 approaches! (In other Konami news, what does this teaser poster mean? Speculation is that it'sa new Metal Gear game starring Raiden....
Fight Night Round 4 Demo Announced and Dated - TeamXbox
Those who pre-order the game will get access the demo as early as today, while all Xbox Live Gold Members will have to wait until May 28th. Xbox Silver members will be able to download the demo on June 4th. The demo will feature Ricky “The Hitman”...

Xbox Live

Xbox Live Marketplace

Xbox Live (trademarked as Xbox LIVE) is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft Corporation. It is currently the only online gaming service (on consoles) that charges users a fee to play multiplayer gaming. It was first made available to the Xbox system in 2002. An updated version of the service became available for the Xbox 360 console at that system's launch in 2005. On the Windows platform, the service is named Games for Windows - Live, which makes most aspects of the system available on Windows computers. Microsoft has announced plans to extend Live to other platforms such as handhelds and mobile phones as part of the Live Anywhere initiative.

As Microsoft developed the original Xbox console, online gaming was designated as one of the key pillars for the greater Xbox strategy. Sega had made an attempt to capitalize on the ever-growing online gaming scene when it launched the Dreamcast video game console in 1999, including online support as standard. Nevertheless, due to lack of widespread broadband adoption at the time, the Dreamcast shipped with only a dial-up modem while a later-released broadband adapter was not widely supported or widely available. Downloadable content was available, though limited in size due to the narrowband connection and the size limitations of a memory card. The online features, while praised as innovative, were largely considered a failure, and the Dreamcast's immediate competitor, the PlayStation 2 did not ship with built-in network adapters.

Microsoft, however, hoped that the Xbox would succeed where the Dreamcast had failed. The company determined that intense online gaming required the throughput of a broadband connection and the storage space of a hard disk drive, and thus these PC-style features would be vital to the new platform. This would allow not only for significant downloadable content, such as new levels, maps, weapons, challenges and characters, to be downloaded quickly and stored, but also would make it possible to standardize bandwidth intensive features such as voice communication. Steve Balmer and Bill Gates both had a vision of making premium download content and add-ons that would attract many new paying customers to earn money. Based on this reasoning, the console included a standard Ethernet port in order to provide connectivity to common broadband networks, but did not include a modem or any dial-up support, and its online service was designed to support broadband users only. Critics scoffed at the idea, citing poor broadband adoption at the turn of the century.

When the Xbox launched on November 15, 2001, the as-yet unnamed online service was destined for a Summer 2002 deployment. Xbox Live was finally given a name at E3 2002 when the service was unveiled in its entirety. Sound dampened booths and broadband connected Xbox consoles - featuring an early version of Unreal Championship - demonstrated the service on the show floor. The Epic title was one of the flagship titles for the service, which was slated for a debut on November 15, 2002, marking the anniversary of the Xbox launch. Microsoft announced that 50 Xbox Live titles would be available by the end of 2003. Utilizing the required broadband bandwidth, Xbox Live featured a unified gaming "Friends List", as well as a single identity across all titles (regardless of the publisher), and standardized voice chat and communication; a feature that was still in its infancy, even on the PC.

Leading up to the launch, Microsoft enlisted several waves of beta testers to improve the service and receive feature feedback. When the service debuted, it lacked much of the functionality that later titles included, but Xbox Live grew and evolved on the Xbox and many aspects of the service were included with the Xbox 360 console out of the box, rather than through a later update. Microsoft's 5000th patent was Live-related and gave Xbox 360 users access to watch other gamers compete against each other over Xbox Live.

The packaging for playable Xbox Live titles on the original Xbox console featured the trademark gold bar underneath the Xbox header. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Brute Force sported a Live "bubble" design, as they only featured downloadable content. This was changed later, wherein all Xbox Live titles included the universal gold Live bar. By the time of the Xbox 360, all titles were required to provide at least a limited form of Xbox Live "awareness".

On November 15, 2007 Microsoft celebrated Xbox Live's 5th anniversary by offering its then over 8 million subscribers the title Carcassonne free of charge and awarding gamers who had subscribed to Live since its inception 500 free Microsoft Points. Due to intermittent service interruptions during late December 2007 and early January 2008, Microsoft promised to offer a free Xbox Live Arcade game to all Xbox Live users as compensation, concluding that, Marc Whitten has released an open letter to all Xbox Live members. Increased demand from Xbox 360 purchasers (the largest number of new user sign-ups in the history of Xbox Live) was given as the reason for the downtime. On January 18, 2008, Microsoft announced Undertow would be offered free for the week starting January 23 through January 27 as compensation. The game was for both Silver and Gold users, so people who paid for their Xbox Live service got the same compensation as non payers.

On January 6, 2009, Microsoft announced there were 17 million members.

Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices President Robbie Bach claims that Xbox Live sets the 360 apart from its rivals. “Xbox Live is a big differentiator for us,” said Bach to investor.com, “That drives a significant amount of energy around what’s on with Xbox.” Bach cites the exclusive downloadable content for GTA IV as a reason why Microsoft’s online service is superior to its rivals.

Xbox Live exclusive servers are based in Seattle, Washington while using some of Microsoft's other servers in Quincy and Yakima, Washington.

A Gamertag is the universal name for a player's username on Microsoft's Xbox Live. A Gamertag must be unique and can be up to 15 characters in length and may include numbers, letters, and spaces. Using a Gamertag, any player can be located and messaged from within Live. There are also several websites which allow users of Gamertags to upload photos and information about themselves. Gamertags can be changed using a premium service on the Xbox 360 console (for a price of 800 Microsoft Points), although a given console has a total of four slots for such accounts.

A player's Gamertag account status can be checked using a variety of online tools, this is useful especially when looking for a new gamertag, or confirming a Gamertag exists. Therefore, you can send friend request can be sent to another gamertag to link the two users. Once you have linked your Gamertag with another person, you can then invite them to a game, or talk to them in Private/Party Chat.

Gamertags can be used in a variety of places, including the original Xbox, the Xbox 360, Games for Windows - Live, Zune, and XNA Creators Club.

Gamertags also contain avatar images (or "gamer pictures"), often associated with certain games or game characters. Individual gamerpics cost between 15 and 20 Microsoft Points, but they are usually bundled into packs; packs of four or five gamerpics usually cost 80 Microsoft Points, while packs of ten typically cost 150.

The Gamerscore (G) is a measure that corresponds to the number of Achievement points accumulated by a user with an Xbox Live profile. These Achievement points are awarded for the completion of game-specific challenges, such as beating a level or amassing a specified number of wins against other players in Xbox Live matches. Initially, retail Xbox 360 games offered up to 1,000G spread over a variable number of Achievements, while each Xbox Live Arcade title contained 12 achievements totaling 200G. These possible totals per game have been raised to 1250G with the one exception being Halo 3 which has 1750G and the Arcade games have been raised to 250G, see below.

On February 1, 2007, Microsoft announced on their Gamerscore Blog some new policies that developers must follow related to Gamerscore and Achievements in future releases. All games must have 1,000 Gamerscore points in the base game - the title can ship with fewer than 1,000 points, but anything added later must be free. Game developers also now have the option of adding up to 250 points via downloadable content (for a total of 1,250 points) - this content can be either free or paid. Xbox Live Arcade titles may add up to 50 points via downloadable content (for a total of 250 points).

On May 26, 2007, Halo 2 was the first Games for Windows game to feature Achievements, which counted towards a player's Gamerscore.

On March 25, 2008, Microsoft cracked down on "Gamerscore cheaters" (those who used external tools to artificially inflate their Gamerscore), and reduced their Gamerscores to zero without the option to recover the scores that had been "earned", and branded the player by denoting on their Gamertag that they were a "Cheater".

A player's Gamercard can be viewed via the Xbox 360 Dashboard, or online through Xbox.com. The top bar that displays the Gamertag is shown in front of either a silver or gold bar which designates if the gamer has an Xbox Live Silver or Gold superscription. If the gamer is part of the Xbox 360 Launch Team, the top bar will also have additional text stating "Launch Team" in the background. Third party sites allow users to post a rendered version of their Gamercard as a small Flash applet or JPEG image on any website or Internet forum.

Similarly, Mac OS X users can download widgets that display their Xbox Live Gamercard within Mac OS X's Dashboard. These can be downloaded onto any Mac with OS X 10.4 or higher via Apple's widget download page.

There are four Gamer Zones; Recreation is for casual gamers, Family is for family-friendly gamers (without profanity, etc.), Pro is for competitive gamers who enjoy a challenge, and Underground is for no-holds-barred gaming where anything goes (as long as it does not violate the Xbox Live Terms of Use). However, in practice these gamer zones are only displayed on the Gamercard of the player, and don't tend to impact on the gameplay experience or the matching of players in online games.

TrueSkill is a ranking and matchmaking system premiering in the Xbox 360 live services. Developed at Microsoft Research Cambridge (England), the TrueSkill ranking system is now used in over 150 titles for the Xbox 360. It uses a mathematical model of uncertainty to address weaknesses in existing ranking systems such as ELO. For example, a new player joining million-player leagues can be ranked correctly in fewer than 20 games. It can predict the probability of each game outcome, which enhances competitive matchmaking, making it possible to assemble skill-balanced teams from a group of players with different abilities.

When matchmaking, the system attempts to match individuals based on their estimated skill level. If two individuals are competing head-to-head and have the same estimated skill level with low estimate uncertainty, they should each have roughly a 50% chance of winning a match. In this way, the system attempts to make every match as competitive as possible.

In order to prevent abuse of the system, the majority of ranked games have relatively limited options for matchmaking. By design, players cannot easily play with their friends in ranked games. However, these countermeasures have failed due to techniques such as alternate account(s) and system flaws where each system has its own individual trueskill rating. To provide less competitive games, the system supports unranked Player Matches, which allow individuals of any skill level to be paired (often including "guests" on an account). Such matches do not contribute to the TrueSkill rating.

Windows Live Messenger allows users of Xbox Live, PCs (Both on the Windows and Macintosh platforms), and Windows Mobile devices to connect and directly message each other. It is possible to chat with up to six people at one time, while playing games, listening to music, or watching movies. This complements the existing voice and video chat of Xbox Live. Users will see at a glance if their existing contacts on Windows Live Messenger have Gamertags. As of the December 4, 2007 dashboard update, Windows Live Messenger on Xbox Live is now available to child accounts if the user is 13 years of age or older.

On September 4, 2007, Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit, a small QWERTY keypad that connects directly into the Xbox 360 controller, either wired or wireless, to support text and instant messaging.

At E3 2008, Microsoft announced that all Xbox 360 owners would receive a new dashboard update, titled New Xbox Experience (NXE), on November 19, 2008 that has added many new features.

One new feature is the ability to watch standard quality and 720p streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, through the Xbox 360. This feature is exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members in the USA with Netflix Unlimited. In the future, users will be able to watch with their friends in a party with up to 8 players. Xbox Live members have the ability to pick from over 12,000 movies and episodes, as if they were to choose on the website. When a player parties up with a group, they would also have the ability to join games together, chat together or view a slideshow of photos.

Another feature gives players the ability to create Avatars. Players are able to customize avatars by changing body shape, facial features, hair and clothes, as well as new clothing being released from time to time. Xbox Live requires that users select an avatar. Another feature is the ability to install an entire game disc onto the Xbox 360's hard drive, which decreases loading times, and significantly reduces noise due to the game being read from the hard drive and not the louder disc drive. For most games this feature also reduces the amount of time spent reading the disc, therefore helping to extend the life-span of the optical drive mechanism.

During the Press Conference at E3, Microsoft announced Xbox Live Primetime, a series of scheduled programs where Xbox Live members can play against each other. The first announced game is an adaptation of the Endemol game show 1 vs. 100 in which one Xbox Live member will play against 100 other members with a live host and prizes awarded. This service has though been delayed by Microsoft.

The Xbox Guide has also been redesigned. Players are not only able to view their friends and messages, but are able to access their game library. If a user has installed any game onto their Xbox 360 Hard drive, they are able to immediately start the game from the guide, whether they are in a game or in the dashboard. Microsoft also confirmed that every new 360s come with 3 free Xbox Live gold trial accounts, upon creating a new account the player is allowed to claim a trial period upon refusing to pay for Gold subscription; therefore allowing the user to try online gameplay for that one month trial period, after which the player is required to pay subscription fees to continue matchmaking online. Major Nelson also announced that the update supports 16:10 on VGA or HDMI, expanding the choice of resolutions.

While previous system updates have been stored on internal memory, this is the first update to require a storage device. The update requires at least 128MB free space on either a memory card or a hard drive. Microsoft has stated that many Core or Arcade users will not have sufficient space on their limited memory cards for the new update and thus provided them with a free 512MB memory card or a discounted 20GB hard drive ($19.99) for a limited time. This promotion has since ended.

The NXE was leaked onto Torrent sites and could be installed via a USB drive. Microsoft's Major Nelson stated that unauthorized installation of NXE would result in the users console being barred from Xbox Live until its official release which was on November 19, 2008.

Xbox Live Marketplace is a unified storefront which offers both free and premium content for download including Xbox Live Arcade titles, original Xbox games, Xbox 360 game demos, game expansion material (e.g. extra maps, vehicles, songs), trailers, gamer pictures and themes, television shows, music videos, movie rentals, and more.

Content is purchased using Microsoft Points.

On November 6, 2006, Microsoft announced the Xbox Video Marketplace, an exclusive video store accessible through the console. Launched in the United States on November 22, 2006, the first anniversary of the Xbox 360's launch, the service allows users in the United States to download high-definition and standard-definition television shows and movies onto an Xbox 360 console for viewing. With the exception of short clips, content is not currently available for streaming, and must be downloaded. Microsoft has also announced that its Microsoft TV service will add IPTV functionality to the console, giving users the ability to stream 2 simultaneous HD and 2 simultaneous SD channels. Movies are also available for rental. They expire in 14 days after download or at the end of the first 24 hours after the movie has begun playing, whichever comes first. Television episodes can be purchased to own, and are transferable to an unlimited number of consoles. Downloaded files use 5.1 surround audio and are encoded using VC-1 for video at 720p, with a bitrate of 6.8 Mbit/s. Television content is offered from MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Turner Broadcasting, and CBS; and movie content is Warner Bros., Paramount, and Disney, along with other publishers.

Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a game market operated by Microsoft and is used to digitally distribute video games, mostly casual games (in constrast to regular hardcore 3D games) to Xbox and Xbox 360 owners via Xbox Live. As of March 25, 2009, there have been 197 titles released for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360.

On November 22, 2005, XBLA was relaunched on the Xbox 360. The service was integrated into the main Dashboard user interface, and the Xbox 360 hard drives were bundled with a free copy of Hexic HD. Every Arcade title on the Xbox 360 supports leaderboards, 200 Achievement points, and high-definition 720p graphics. They also have a trial version available for free download. These demos are playable and most of them offer only a fraction of the levels, modes, and content of the full game. A full version of the game must be purchased to allow the user to upload scores to the leaderboards, unlock achievements, play multiplayer, and download bonus content.

Several new features and enhancements have been added through software updates including a friends leaderboard, additional sorting options, faster enumeration of games, an auto-download feature for newly released trial games, and "Tell a Friend" messages.

If users associate a credit card with their Xbox Live account, when the current subscription ends, it is renewed automatically. When this occurs, a notification e-mail is sent to the e-mail address registered for the account. In order to cancel this automatic renewal, users are required to phone a customer service number as cancellations cannot be made directly from the console. This procedure has been criticized by some users, particularly with respects to requests made by customer service operators concerning the reasons for cancellation.

The "Game with Fame" initiative has been Microsoft's way to connect Xbox Live members with celebrities and game developers. Notable participants of "Game With Fame" include Shia LaBeouf, Jack Black, Rihanna, Velvet Revolver, Shaun Wright-Phillips, KoЯn, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Dream Theater.

Xbox Rewards was a promotion designed to provide gamers incentives to play on Xbox Live by subsidizing achievement points earned with actual rewards. Gamers were required to register for specific challenges which, if successfully completed, would yield a challenge-specific reward.

Recently, some individuals have bypassed these security checks by using a custom drivechip firmware (e.g., the iXtreme firmware) which prevents detection of alterations, effectively "stealthing" the modification.

It has been discovered that pretexting has been used to impersonate an Xbox Live user for the purposes of sabotage. Microsoft has implemented greater security in an effort to decrease the service's susceptibility to social engineering.

Live Anywhere is an initiative by Microsoft to bring the Live online gaming and entertainment network to a wide variety of platforms and devices, including Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows PCs (XP & Vista), Windows Mobile and Java-based phones, Zune, and more. The concept service for mobile devices has been demonstrated at E3 and the Consumer Electronics Show on a Motorola Q mobile phone.

Microsoft's Chris Early clarified that Live Anywhere is a long-term project expected to be rolled out over several years.

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Xbox Live Marketplace

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The Xbox Live Marketplace (XBLM) is a virtual market designed for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console that allows Xbox Live members to download purchased or promotional content. The service offers movie and game trailers, Video Store, game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, Xbox Live Community Games, Xbox Originals, downloadable content such as map packs, gamer pictures, and Xbox 360 Dashboard themes.

The Spring 2007 update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard relocated the Marketplace to its own "blade" in order to bring more attention to the service and make it more accessible to users.

Microsoft Points (denoted as) are used as currency in the Xbox Live Marketplace, which includes the Xbox Live Arcade. These points may be purchased with a credit card through the Xbox Live Marketplace, or redeemed from gift cards purchased at retail locations. Microsoft Points are universal across the globe, and their use allows content to be priced independent of actual currency, eliminating conversion factors for every purchase. The current exchange rate is 80 Microsoft points to one U.S. Dollar.

The Xbox Live Arcade service was re-launched beginning with the release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005. The Arcade service is integrated with the Dashboard user interface, allowing for distribution through the Microsoft Points. Arcade titles on the Xbox 360 support accurate and up-to-date leaderboards, with high scores linked to a player's Gamertag. Players can see where they stand in the Xbox Live community, take a look at the records set by the world's top-ranked players, or see how they match up against individuals on their friends list. Titles can also contribute to a player's Xbox Live Gamerscore.

The most expensive XBLCG production on record is Biology Battle, which cost in the area of $100,000 to create. While this is in stark contrast to the shoe-string budgets of most other XBLCG titles, it is extremely low compared to professional studios creating games on the Xbox360 or XBLA.

As the majority of these titles are casual titles produced by 1 or 2 hobby developers, their relative simplicity and low quality have invoked the ire of many game critics. Though some titles such as Weapon of Choice and Biology Battle have earned Metacritic ratings demonstrating a level of quality on par with full XBLA games.

In the period between XBLCG's Nov 19, 2008 launch until Feb 20, 2009, over 150 games have been published on XBLCG.

A current list of all Xbox Live Community Games can be found in the "Community Games" section of Xbox Live Marketplace.

On December 4, 2007, Microsoft launched a new download service titled "Xbox Originals", which allows Xbox Live users to download Xbox games directly to their hard disks. The launch games for the service were Halo: Combat Evolved, Fable, Psychonauts, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex and Fuzion Frenzy. In Japan, a different set of launch games were released, including Puyo Pop Fever and Magatama.

The Video Store (originally Video Marketplace) is an online service operated by Microsoft that is used to distribute television shows and movies to Xbox 360 owners. The service was launched in USA on November 22, 2006 via Xbox Live. Initial content partners include Paramount Pictures, CBS, TBS, MTV Networks, UFC, NBC, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Other movie studios have since supported the service including Lionsgate Films and Walt Disney Pictures as announced at E3 2007. At CES 2008, MGM, ABC, the Disney Channel and Toon Disney announced their support for the service. At the present time, the service is available to users in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, France and Germany.

Various films and TV shows are available for purchase in the Video Store, including both past and present series, such as Star Trek and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. TV shows will be saved permanently while movies are only "rentals"; they will become unwatchable 24 hours after initial viewing or 14 days after purchase.

At launch, the Video Store encountered widespread problems such as lengthy download times, duplicate billing for the same content, and downloads that could not complete, or for which users would have had to repay to complete.

On March 6, 2007, the South Park episode "Good Times with Weapons" was available for free download; however, this episode was free only for the HDTV version until April 3, 2007. Starting on March 13, 2007, all episodes from South Park's 11th season were offered uncensored. Also, starting on July 26, 2007, the pilot episode of Jericho was available for download free of charge for both the Standard and HD versions.

Xbox Live Pipeline was a Flash-based website launched on October 12, 2006 that allowed users to view content available for download on Xbox Live from their PC. As of the beginning of 2007, the Xbox Live Pipeline website redirects to the standard Xbox site, which now contains most of the functionality of Pipeline.

The Marketplace Ticker is a replacement for the now-defunct Xbox Live Pipeline. The Xbox Live Marketplace Ticker allows users to view the latest demos, trailers, "gamer pics", themes, games, TV shows and movies. The ticker displays the availability, price, and information of items that can be downloaded from the Marketplace.

Larry Hryb (Xbox Live's "Major Nelson") frequently posts alerts of downloadable content on his blog.

Per Marketplace design, the digital rights management license for downloaded content is tied to both a specific user, as well as to a specific console. This means that to access the content, the user either needs to be signed on to Xbox Live using their Gamertag, or be playing on the original console the content was purchased on.

As a result, users with replacement consoles (either as a result of a warranty claim, or due to an upgrade to the Xbox 360 Elite model) cannot use previously downloaded content without being connected to Xbox Live. This has the effect of restricting usage of purchased content when no Internet connection is available. An additional wrinkle is added when there are multiple accounts on one console. In this case, all accounts can normally share content when it was downloaded on that system. However, if the system is replaced, then only the actual Xbox Live account to which the content is tied can make use of it (a workaround exists whereby the non-purchasing gamertag can use the content, but only if the original purchasing gamertag is signed into Xbox Live as a secondary profile).

Microsoft's original attempts to resolve these issues were limited to transferring licenses to consoles replaced under warranty. This required contacting Microsoft support, and the console must have been replaced through Microsoft itself or a warranty from the retailer where it was originally purchased. License transfers could not be performed in the case of a voluntary upgrade (e.g., if the user purchased an Xbox 360 Elite to replace their old console). Microsoft support states the license transfer process takes 20-30 days, however users have found that it can take much longer.

As of June 2008, Microsoft has released an online tool that allows users to transfer licenses from the console where they were originally purchased to another. This is done in a two-step process, where all licenses are first migrated on the server side, and then downloaded onto the new console. To prevent abuse, this process can only be performed once a year. Licenses remain bound to the Gamertag regardless, so users who store their profiles on portable memory units can continue to use purchased content on any console when signed into the service.

Price consistency and whether some content should be available free of charge has also been a source of criticism related to the Xbox Live Marketplace. A notable incident was Microsoft charging for a Gears of War map pack that developer Epic desired to provide at no cost (although it was made free four months later in September 2007). Exacerbating the controversy, Game Informer made claims that Microsoft forced companies to charge for content the company itself wanted to distribute free. In this case, Microsoft Publishing was responsible for setting the price, with this not actually being a policy of the Xbox team or Xbox Live Marketplace as was implied. Free content is indeed possible, but with the exception of the Xbox Live Arcade game, Aegis Wing, most of the free content is promotional in nature, such as the titles Yaris and Dash of Destruction.

After the Spring 2007 dashboard update, Microsoft increased the security on the regional content restrictions. This made obtaining entertainment content for international markets impossible, while the US market has a substantial offering in comparison. Even some free content, such as downloadable extras for retail games, is impossible to obtain in certain regions, despite there being no legal or censorship problems (an example of this would be the second Gears of War map pack; while the first pack was initially available free worldwide, the Spring 2007 update made both unavailable to many Xbox 360 owners).

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Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged

Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Vol. 1 is a retail package of six Xbox Live Arcade games and three demos. The compilation carries an MSRP of $39.99, which is cheaper than it would cost to download the games separately. The disc works by inserting it into the system just like any other game. However, rather than directly launching any of the titles, it adds nine items to the Xbox Live Arcade menu with a small disc icon next to each name.

Microsoft's Worldwide Games Portfolio Manager David Edery has stated in an interview that Unplugged Vol. 2 was one of many "options" being "evaluated" for release.

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List of Xbox Live Arcade games

This article provides a list of released and upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games for the Xbox 360.

The following is a list of the 198 games available on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service for the Xbox 360 sorted alphabetically by genre. To sort by other columns, click the corresponding icon in the header row.

The following is a timeline of Xbox Live Arcade downloadable content in order of their release.

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Source : Wikipedia