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Xbox Live Arcade Set To Swell

Xbox Live A lot of folks say that the Microsoft Xbox Live Arcade service offers more interesting fare than actual Xbox 360 games, and if Spong is correct then the service is about to become much more... interesting.  Rumor has it that Microsoft has been quietly securing and acquiring all kinds of licenses to classic arcade games from years gone by in order to increase Live Arcade's offerings to near MAME-like levels.  Best of all, since it's all legal (unlike emulating arcade classics on modern PCs which is, at best, usually a gray area) everybody in the development and production end of the spectrum gets paid for their work.

Microsoft seems to be looking to crush Nintendo's upcoming Virtual Console service before it even launches.  Microsoft has even snagged a bunch of Sega licenses, something that seems to surprise Spong. 

What's more, it looks as though Sega will be offering a major contribution, though frustratingly, we didn't get to the bottom of exactly what will be included in this major revision of Xbox Live Arcade. "Sega games will be included in a major way. It's a surprising addition to the deal and will include games that Nintendo will also be selling. The Nintendo deal is not exclusive."

Why should it be exclusive?  Back in the old days did you ever know only one chain of arcade that was allowed to carry a certain game?  It was certainly likely, even expected, to be able to go into the old Barrel of Fun arcade and find Konami's The Simpsons and then go across town to Blip's Arcade and find Konami's The Simpsons.  Both places could profitably co-exist.  Exclusivity deals are a child of the world of home console gaming.  We all get wrapped up in the business end of things sometimes, but the important part of video gaming to keep in mind is that games are meant to be played, and whether we can play Street Fighter II on Live Arcade or on the Virtual Console shouldn't matter in the end.   The important thing is that these beloved games are coming back.  That deserves a cheer no matter which console or company one backs in the gaming wars.