Microsoft announces Game Room, a retro gamer’s paradise

Microsoft has announced Game Room, a customizable retro games area that will available on both Xbox Live and Games for Windows – Live. The service will launch with 30 games this Spring with weekly releases to follow, all of which can be purchased in one of three ways — 40 Microsoft Points for a single playtime (Microsoft likens this to a single token, “just like in the old arcades”), 240 MS Points for a platform-specific buy (meaning the game can only be played on either Xbox 360 or Windows PC), and 400 MS Points for a cross-platform buy (user can play it on both their Xbox 360 as well as PC).

The introductory trailer above does a good job of explaining the simpler things. For more details, have a look at the official fact sheet that follows.

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.