Microsoft planning to delist several underperforming LIVE Arcade titles

In the animal world, the weakest members of the herd are always the ones that are sacrificed to keep the stronger animals alive and kicking. Such is also the case with the Xbox LIVE Arcade — Microsoft has made the decision to potentially put a bullet in the brain stem of several underperforming Arcade titles. In order to be considered for delisting, the game must meet a list of criteria which consists of average review scores below 65%, as well as conversion rate of demo downloads to paid downloads. While this may seem like a logical step in culling the herd of the utter crap in favor of higher quality titles, it might be a little more complicated than that.

A few questions have arisen in the wake of this info, including the ability for current owners of these titles to re-download them at a later date, as has been promised by Microsoft from the very start of LIVE service. After catching wind of this concern, Microsoft assured the gaming world that these titles would always be available for re-download by those who have purchased the rights. This begs the question, why even bother to delist the games if you’re going to have to keep them available to the general public anyway. They won’t be saving any space on their servers and the only thing that this will lead to is an inability of new console owners to purchase these titles.

Additionally, using the demo-to-purchase percentage metric doesn’t seem like a sound one when deciding what games are to be given the axe. There are so many LIVE users who have their Xbox consoles set to auto download all the newest demos that the chosen conversion rate of 6% might be a little steep. For example, I auto-download every single demo that appears on the service, but I’d be willing to bet that 50% of those demos get deleted before even getting a chance to impress me. I’m just not going to play some games, regardless of the demo, so if people such as myself are counting against these nearly dead games then I’m going to feel a little bit guilty about that.

Despite these issues, it doesn’t appear that MS will be changing their minds, and a potentially leaked list of the games that are under consideration has appeared on the interweb in the meantime. The completely UNOFFICIAL list is available below, so if you see something you like you better get your download on, just in case.

Crystal Quest
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Hardwood Hearts
Texas Hold ’em
Fatal Fury Special
Marathon: Durandal
Missile Command
Time Pilot
Track & Field
Hardwood Backgammon
Hardwood Spades
Mad Tracks
Root Beer Tapper
Super Contra
Geon: Emotions
Soltrio Solitaire
Arkadian Warriors
Rush’n Attack
Double Dragon
Asteroids / Asteroids Deluxe
Battlestar Galactica
Centipede & Millipede
Spyglass Board Games
Tetris Splash
Ecco the Dolphin
Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Wing Commander Arena
Street Trace: NYC
Word Puzzle
New Rally-X
Cyberball 2072

Regardless of whether or not the above games are facing deletion, Microsoft has set some minds at ease by also announcing that each game will get a 3-month grace period before being removed, so that any potential buyers will have plenty of time to make their move. Show some love for these titles before they land face down on the Arcade room floor, or you may regret it.