It’s been apparent for years that, as the Internet changed the way we game, it would start changing the way we buy and sell games, too. Indeed, that’s truly begun happening in earnest in the last few years, but the team at Microsoft that created Xbox Live Arcade thought it’d be happening a bit sooner and was worried about the affect their project would have on the industry.
Speaking to IGN, Xbox Live Arcade creator Greg Canessa talked about his teams hopes and fears.
“There was a legitimate fear that Xbox Live Arcade was going to cannibalize retail sales and completely destroy the console industry,” he said. “That was actually a quote I got from internal folks.”
Indeed, Xbox Live Arcade played some role in helping kick off the indie revolution, though the world wasn’t quite ready for a digital future at that point thanks to bandwidth not quite being up to snuff and game consoles featuring pretty tiny hard drives. That the platform was restricted to the Microsoft console and every game going up was subject to Microsoft’s approval and release window didn’t help either.
The team was right – the market for small, inexpensive games is huge, and has changed the face of PC gaming in countless ways. Whether it was ahead of its time or too small in scope, it didn’t quite have the effect its team feared, even if the changes were already on the horizon.