The Rising Price Of XBLA Games

The average price of Xbox Live Arcade games on the Xbox 360 has risen by a $US1.74 since the Xbox 360 launched in November of 2005, according to Kotaku's study of prices for more than 200 XBLA games.

Microsoft's annual Summer of Arcade promotion begins today, a five-week event designed to draw attention to new top-flight Xbox Live Arcade games, such as Splosion Man and Shadow Complex. We don't yet know how good these games will be — though we have high hopes. What we do know is that they, as is the trend with XBLA games, will contribute to the rising price tag of games on Microsoft's downloadable service.

Kotaku's Andrew Freedman and I pulled launch prices for the more than 200 Xbox Live Arcade games released since the 360's launch. At the top of this post, you'll see a chart that shows how the average price for downloadable XBLA games on the system has risen steadily in the past 46 months. (Note: The online marketplace lists the launch games for the 360 as being released in October of 2005 even though the system debuted in North America in November. For consistency's sake, we've started our chart at October of that year.)

The average price of an XBLA game in the 360's first month was just under 600 points at about $US7.31. That has risen to more than 700 points as of last week, or $US9.05. And that's not counting how the average will likely rise again during the Summer of Arcade. Four of the five games offered for the new promotion will run 1200 points.

The second chart Andrew and I made shows which prices have been popular, and which are going out of style. The days of games released for 400 points ($5) are nearly over. The 1200-point price ($15) is increasingly common.

Click graph to enlarge

The size of games offered through XBLA has increased over the years. Several top-quality titles, including Geometry Wars, Braid and Battlefield: 1943 have garnered acclaim.

But if you thought that XBLA was becoming a more expensive service, you're not imagining things.


    I'm surprised Microsoft is even allowed to price XBLA and other content the way they do in Australia.

    They persist in advertising products at, say, 400 or 800 MS Points, but the simple fact of the matter is that you can't just purchase the product at that stated price.

    To buy an "800 MSP" product, for example, your MINIMUM purchase must be 1000 MSP due to the way the way that MS artificially structures its points-buying model. A model which just "happens" to benefit them enormously when you have an excess of points available.

    IMO this borders on deceptive advertising and is a pretty shaky business practice.

      Exactly like what Nintendo do as well.

      But does the fact that Sony has an actual price for each territory make it more transparent? It serves to highlight how much we get ripped off!

      Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix as an example - I paid about $16.80AU for it from the HK store, but in the AU store it is $23.95AU

      Honestly, I'm pretty sick of this argument. Yes, you have to buy more points than you need, but can you honestly say you won't use them on something else eventually?

      In order to be fair, if you are going to include the extra 200 points in the cost of the 800 point arcade game you want to buy, you should also be subtracting that 200 points from the cost of your next purchase.

      @ WOMBLE:

      Its just smart marketing. Its not deceptive in any way. You can purchase a 800MSP game with a 2000MSP card, the price does not change. The structure forces you to use your points in a fashion that encourages one to pay for either the higher (1200) value games, or more of the lower (400) in order to use the 2000 even. However, the 800 has become the sweetspot purchase point, and they know that. Which in essence makes you buy 1200+800, or 800x2 and then another card.

    Like all things, XBLA games are more expensive here and that sucks.

    People over there complain about $15 games, that's $25 here and pushes it outside of the 'impulse buy' zone.

    The first graph is deceptive, and deliberately so.

    Start the y axis at 0, like it should do, and you get a much more accurate impression of real price.

    Aside from the issue with "change" when dealing with points, some games are being chopped up a bit to perhaps milk more. The Maw has "deleted" levels which you can purchase, Space Invaders Extreme offers the classic version as a paid download. These items should have shipped with the game in the first place, the Space Invaders example definitely cost them a sale.

      The "deleted scenes" from The Maw were only labeled as such to indicate that they occured in between existing levels of the game. They weren't completed until after the game was released.

    yet they insist in slapping advertisements all over XBL.

    shame shame shame

    BUT we continue to buy these games are DLC. I guess if sales went down, so would the prices to draw more people to buying them again.

    Ok, now can you compare that graph to a graph showing the increase in the quality of XBLA games?

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