Once was a time Microsoft were very stingy with how big a game downloaded from Xbox Live Arcade could be. These days, though? Don't worry about it, publishers, knock yourselves out.
Old-timers on the 360 front will remember a time that Xbox Live Arcade games had to come in under 50MB. That 50MB was then stretched to 150MB. Then 250MB. Then along came Portal: Still Alive and Street Fighter II HD, and it looked like Microsoft's restrictions were bending.
You can forget that. They're now breaking. Anyone unfortunate enough to have downloaded the Watchmen game last week will have noticed that that it clocked in at 1.2GB. 1.2GB! That's, uh, a lot bigger than 250MB. Microsoft explains:
We have set Xbox Live Arcade game file limits as a general guideline. An important part Xbox Live Arcade is easy access, and keeping file size down is a vital part of that. Equally important is offering titles with superior gameplay. We weigh both considerations on a case-by-case basis, and will make exceptions when it makes sense to ensure the best customer experience.
If Watchmen can get an exception on the basis of "superior gameplay", anything can get an exception, so hopefully we can expect to see a lot more high-profile XBLA titles popping up around the 500MB-1GB mark in the months to come.
Which is a good thing! Accessibility be damned, if developers can cram better graphics and more levels into a game in 1GB than they can in 250MB then you'll please a lot more people than you upset.
Microsoft enforces Xbox Live size limit-some of the time [Ars Technica]