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Microsoft 'Game Room' Virtual Arcade Announced for PC, Xbox 360

Microsoft unveiled 'Game Room' yesterday at CES, a free virtual space for avatars to buy, play and display vintage arcade games, hitting Xbox Live and Games for Windows Live this Spring.

Game Room is presented as a virtual "retro video game arcade," where purchased games stand as arcade cabinets complete with original art, and which can be decorated and arranged to make childhood dreams comes true.

Thirty games from Atari, Activision, Intellivision, Konami and others will be available at launch, including Centipede and Asteroids Deluxe. Games will be priced at 240 to 400 Microsoft Points ($3-$5) or players can buy a single credit for 40 MS Points (50¢). Players can also visit friends' virtual arcades to give their games a whirl.

This announcement also suggests that player avatars will be added to Games for Windows Live, though this has yet to receive full and proper confirmation.

Players' arcades will be cross-platform, with purchases being added to both their 360 and PC Game Room. High score leaderboards are also cross-platform.

In addition to the leaderboards, Game Room will feature local 'Couch Play' multiplayer while Xbox Live further boasts online play in the form of ranked matchups and 'challenge' mode, where players take turns.

Remember pumping quarters into your favorite video games at the classic arcade or passing the joystick between friends on the couch after school? Nothing could beat the sights and sounds of the arcade, with all the colorfully decorated cabinets, or the endless hours of console competition with friends, trumping the top score and mastering the machine.

This spring, "Game Room" on Xbox LIVE lets you relive the glory days of classic arcade games in their original forms. Your avatar will take part in the original sights, sounds and gameplay that will make these retro games come alive on your Xbox 360 and Windows-based PC in one fast, fun experience.

Game Features

  • Relive the glory days of the classic arcade. "Game Room" replicates the old-school look, sound and feel of a retro video game arcade. At launch, "Game Room" will bring you a library of 30 original arcade and console classics such as "Centipede" and "Asteroids Deluxe" from Atari Inc. and other favorites from Activision Inc., Intellivision, Konami Corp. and more, all shown in their original cabinets. Create a brand-new social environment* your avatar can explore, trick out your "game room" by arranging your cabinets, and decorate each room with themes and animated icons from your favorite games. With weekly new title releases, your arcade will soon be retrofitted to perfection.
  • Prove you're the arcade master. Think you have what it takes? Challenge friends to beat your high score by sending custom challenges and taunts across platforms, earn Achievements, unlock levels and climb your way to the top of universal leader boards. Compete in ranked mode, in which you play against other Xbox LIVE members on the world leader board, or challenge mode, in which you take turns playing a game.* "Game Room" also offers local Couch Play mode for up to two players - how will you duke it out for arcade supremacy? Enjoy a seamless experience across Xbox 360 and Windows-based PCs as you share games, track your progress and jump back into the game, no matter which of the two platforms you're on. You can even invite friends into your custom arcade to check out your collection or visit their "game room" to demo games and scope out additions to your collection.
  • Buy "Game Room" titles once and play on both your Xbox 360 and Windows-based PC. Enjoy the freedom of buying games for "Game Room" once and playing on both Xbox 360 and a Windows-based PC for about the same price as a DVD rental. Those who prefer to play on a single platform can purchase individual games for either Xbox 360 or a Windows-based PC at a lower price point, or even pay to play a single game just like in the old arcades. See how long you can last on a single token!
How Do I Play?
An Xbox 360 console or Windows-based PC and an Internet connection are all you need* to access "Game Room." "Game Room" and associated games can be found on your Xbox 360 in the Xbox LIVE Games Marketplace or in the Games for Windows - LIVE client on your Windows-based PC.

How Much Does It Cost?
It is free to download "Game Room," which you can then populate with classic arcade games available for individual purchase. Buy games once and play on both an Xbox 360 system and a Windows-based PC for 400 Microsoft Points. Or, to purchase a game for only one platform, each individual Xbox 360 or Windows-based PC title is 240 Microsoft Points. You also have the option to pay to play a single game, just like dropping two quarters in the slot in the old arcades, for 40 Microsoft Points. Visit your friends' "game rooms" and try their games free before you buy.

"Game Room" Specifications

  • One or two players
  • HDTV 1080p
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • Voice chat
  • Avatar support
  • Online multiplayer (one or two players)*
  • Cross-platform leader boards
  • Cross-platform Achievements
* Xbox LIVE Gold Membership required for online multiplayer on Xbox 360. Xbox LIVE requires broadband access.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 7, 2010 6:57 AM

    Does the interoperability between 360 and PC extend to actual interaction, or just the sharing of scores and ownership? Can a PC user and 360 user share the couch, so to speak? That'd be awesome because I own both and have friends on both sides of the fence.

    • reply
      January 7, 2010 8:19 AM

      The only game I've seen do what you're asking is Shadowrun, which was a pretty mediocre at best game. Shackers, correct me if there have been more games since then that allow sharing of the couch.

      • reply
        January 7, 2010 10:40 AM

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