Originally Posted by 1Up
Microsoft Expands XBLA File Size to 250 MB
Apparently, the Burning Crusade isn't the only expansion in town.
By Luke Smith, 01/18/2007
The Xbox Live Arcade file size was capped at 50 MB to accommodate consumers who purchased the hard drive-less Xbox 360 Core SKU (those consumers had to use one of Microsoft's memory cards). Under condition of anonymity, sources revealed to 1UP that the file size for Xbox Live Arcade titles has been increased from 50 MB to 250 MB and with Microsoft's approval, that size can be expanded to 450 MB. When asked for comment on the reported change to file size, Microsoft said, "We do not comment on rumor and speculation and so we can not confirm that rumor. Aside from the exception we granted for 'Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,' we have not announced any plans to alter the file size standard for Xbox Live Arcade games. However, adjusting the size limit is certainly an option in the future, and as always, we are listening to feedback both from gamers and developers on what will provide the best user experience. Whatever choice we make, we will hold a position that provides for the best possible Xbox Live Arcade gameplay experience."
The din of negative feedback got awfully loud when Microsoft and Q Entertainment partitioned Lumines Live! into a series of downloads. Part of the reason the software was divided into chunks was to accommodate the download size (the other part being the increased opportunity for both Microsoft and Q Entertainment to make money). Today, Microsoft announced the availability of new Lumines Live! content on the Marketplace next week. The free download of Heavenly Star (for Gold users) and reduced prices for a limited time on the content packs are olive branches from Microsoft and Q Entertainment.
Recent reports indicated that Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night exceeded the 50 MB download size by nearly double. At 96 MB, the file wouldn't fit on the 64 MB memory card. Speaking to GameSpot, Xbox Live Arcade Group Manager Greg Canessa explained why the now-adjusted file size was instituted in the first place, "By keeping the file size small for Xbox Live Arcade games, gamers can put one or more games on a memory unit and easily bring those games to a friend's house to share and play."
But what about Core pack owners who don't have hard drives? Circumstantially, it'd seem like they are out of luck. They won't be able to download the games to their memory card and depending on how big the game is, they likely won't be able to download the demo either. However, how many folks are out there downloading Live Arcade games without an HDD? It probably works out to a small percentage. We asked Microsoft about those users and the memory card issues that the console will face with this new expanded size for Live Arcade titles. Microsoft said "There is already one possible solution in the works for this category of gamer should we decide to increase the Xbox Live Arcade game file size from its current 50 MB limit. As announced at E3 last May, a larger Memory Unit is being developed which will allow gamers who do not own a hard drive to store and easily transport several Xbox Live Arcade games at a time. We have no further details to announce at this time."
With games potentially expanding to 450 MB, an oft-rumored 256 MB memory card (EB Games lists one for $59.99, expecting it to ship March 1) wouldn't be sufficient, either. If there is a memory card upgrade (and there will be, eventually) expect it to hold 512 MB of data.