As GDC 07 kicks off, Microsoft has officially incresed the size of files available over Xbox Live Arcade, up from 50 to 150 megabytes.To support this move as a format-holder Microsoft is releasing an increased size memory card, which is 512MB in size, priced $49.99 and comes with Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved pre-loaded.
The increased file size is designed to offer developers greater scope when producing games for the downloadable title platform.
“The new size limit offers developers increased flexibility and continued opportunities for innovative game development, while also ensuring that the millions of gamers on Xbox LIVE can continue to easily access, download and play all Xbox Live Arcade games on Xbox 360,” said Chris Early, product unit manager for Xbox Live Arcade and Microsoft Casual Games.
“If you take a look at current games like Roboblitz and Small Arms, it’s clear that our developers deliver amazing game experiences within a compact size limit. Our focus is on continuing to provide developers with an environment that allows for the creation of cost-efficient games and that nurtures an artistic and creative approach to game development.”
That said, it's a little ironic that Roboblitz is used as an example, given that the game was designed specifically for the smaller size limit, opting to use procedural texture generation to fit into the smaller space size.
And, the 150MB limit still contrasts with Sony's rather more laissez faire policy towards file sizes - in talks with developers the Japanese-owned format holder has regularly talked up the PlayStation Store's more "ambitious" intentions, with no official size limit as such.