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GDC 07: 512MB Xbox 360 Memory Unit; Increased XBLA Sizes Announced
At long last, more space for developers and consumers.
By Jared Black 03/04/2007 22:58:38 PST

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Memory Unit

Microsoft has just announced that it will release the long-rumored 512MB Memory Unit for the Xbox 360 beginning April 3rd. The new unit will retail for $49.99, and for a limited time (to encourage early adoption no doubt) will come pre-loaded with Xbox Live Arcade smash hit Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. At the same time, the 64MB Memory Unit (pictured) will drop in price from $39.99 to $29.99.

One of the primary reasons Microsoft would want to encourage early adoption of the new, larger Memory Unit is because the company also announced that it has increased the size limit of Xbox Live Arcade titles. Developers may now produce games that are up to 150 MB in size, up from the original limit of 50 MB.

You can find more info on these, as well as additional details on Xbox Live Arcade titles the company plans to show off this week, in the press release below:

SAN FRANCISCO March 4, 2007 At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2007, Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to launch a 512MB Memory Unit for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and an increase in the official size limit of Xbox LIVE. Arcade games from 50 MB to 150 MB.

The 512MB Memory Unit, available worldwide beginning April 3, 2007, will retail for an estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.) in North America.* The 512MB Memory Unit will be pre-loaded with the hit Xbox LIVE Arcade game "Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved" from developer Bizarre Creations Ltd. for a limited time. The original 64MB Memory Unit will simultaneously drop in price from $39.99 to $29.99 (ERP).*

Eight times larger than the 64MB Memory Unit, the 512MB Memory Unit will provide Xbox 360 owners with vastly expanded storage capabilities for gaming on the go, allowing gamers to easily store and transport their gamer profile and save game data, Xbox LIVE Arcade games and Xbox LIVE Marketplace content. The 512MB Memory Unit also gives Xbox 360 owners the ability to download exclusive content from any of the 45,000 Xbox 360 kiosks accessible at retail outlets worldwide.

Beginning today, the Xbox LIVE Arcade game size limit has increased from 50 MB to 150 MB, giving developers greater flexibility in game design and expanding the opportunity to add advanced game features while still keeping games compact.

"The new size limit offers developers increased flexibility and continued opportunities for innovative game development, while also ensuring that the millions of gamers on Xbox LIVE can continue to easily access, download and play all Xbox LIVE Arcade games on Xbox 360," said Chris Early, product unit manager for Xbox LIVE Arcade and Microsoft Casual Games at Microsoft. "If you take a look at current games like Roboblitz' and Small Arms,' it's clear that our developers deliver amazing game experiences within a compact size limit. Our focus is on continuing to provide developers with an environment that allows for the creation of cost-efficient games and that nurtures an artistic and creative approach to game development."

"As we prepare to launch our first Xbox LIVE Arcade game, Boom Boom Rocket,' we're able to see how dynamic and creative this platform is," said Chip Lange, vice president of Online Commerce for Electronic Arts Inc. (EA). "Having Wing Commander Arena' on Xbox LIVE Arcade allows us to take full advantage of the online play and bring to life a 16-player online arcade experience that delivers unparalleled arcade action."

This week at GDC, Microsoft will showcase forthcoming Xbox LIVE Arcade games from a cross-section of genres to the game development community:

  • "Boom Boom Rocket" (EA and Bizarre Creations). This eagerly anticipated title from EA and Bizarre Creations is a hypnotic rhythm music game that will launch on Xbox LIVE Arcade this spring, priced at 800 Microsoft Points.
  • "3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures" (Sierra Online and Wanako Games). The first outdoor sports game on Xbox LIVE Arcade, "3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures" lets players putt their way through 36 fun-filled holes on wild courses that include settings such as the Classic Carnival and the fantastical Outer Space.
  • "Eets: Chowdown" (Klei Entertainment Inc.). A completely revamped version of the popular PC title, "Eets: Chowdown" offers a fun puzzle game experience unlike anything else available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, and features new items and 120 new levels.
  • "Jetpac Refuelled" (Rare Ltd.). This is a new take on Rare/Ultimate's 1983 classic space blaster with enhanced graphics and Xbox LIVE features; players must clear a path through hordes of aliens to refuel their ship and amass a fortune over the course of more than 100 high-definition levels.
  • "Pinball FX" (ZEN Studios Ltd.). "Pinball FX" offers an unparalleled pinball experience that will be fun for novices and experts alike, with realistic ball physics and stunning 3-D tables. "Pinball FX" also features real-time, head-to-head competition over Xbox LIVE and Xbox LIVE Vision camera support.

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