During this week's CES show in Vegas, Microsoft announced their intentions to introduce a "Game Room" to both Xbox Live and Games for Windows. The "Game Room" replicates the look and feel of retro video game arcades, bringing you a fully customisable space for you and your friends' Avatars to play coin-op classics.
The Game Room will launch will 30 original arcade classics from the likes of Activision, Konami, Namco and Intellivision, with games like Centipede
and Space Hawk
all shown in their original cabinets. New games are set to be released weekly, with Microsoft promising a whopping 1,000 games within three years.
While the Game Room itself is free of charge, each game will be priced at 240 MSP each. If you wish to play the games on BOTH your Xbox 360 and your PC via Games for Windows, they are cross-compatible, one-time purchases, but they will set you back 400 MSP. If you only want to try out a game however, you can drop just 40 MSP to play a single game - just like quarters in a proper arcade cabinet. Even cooler still, if you friend buys a game, you can try it out for free when in their "Game Room."
If there was one thing that the sorely-missed Arcades of time gone by really could've benefited from, it would be achievements. Never fear, as Microsoft have said that the games will include them, and that they will be cross-platform. Whether every game will have achievements or not is still unknown, but fingers crossed!
The games included will also have cross-platform leaderboards and co-op play, as well as ranked modes - where you can play competitively against other Xbox Live users - and both Challenge and Couch Play modes - in which you take it in turns to duke it out for the best scores in a game. The Game Room will also include the ability to send custom challenges and taunts to your friends, and a universal levelling system that'll be used to rank players worldwide on the leaderboards based on their Game Room progress and hi-scores.
The only bad news? The developers behind the wheel are Krome Studios, whose middling track record includes http://www.trueachievements.com/Party-Animals-xbox-360.htm
. Doesn't fill you with confidence, but definitely an exciting prospect nonetheless. All in all, this is definitely
something to keep your eyes out for when it hits the Xbox and GfW this Spring.
Check the link below for the announcement trailer, which illustrates the concept far better than those words probably did.