GDC 07: Microsoft Announces Larger Memory Card to Cope with Larger XBLA Games

To begin the Game Developers Conference with a bang, Microsoft today made a couple of announcements that Xbox 360 owners are sure to appreciate. Ever since it was revealed that the upcoming Live Arcade version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night would exceed the 50mb limit on XBLA titles, rumors of an official size limit increase have flared up online. Today, the Xbox 360 manufacturer officially raised the bar on its Xbox Live Arcade games, increasing the file size limit from 50mb to 150mb.

“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 at Microsoft. “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.”

In addition, Microsoft announced a new 512mb memory unit that will provide better mobility for Xbox 360 content and allow Xbox 360 Core unit owners to enjoy the larger Live Arcade titles. The 512mb memory unit is eight times larger than the original 64mb card and will arrive at North American retail stores on April 3 with an MSRP of $49.99. Also, for a limited time, the 512mb memory unit will ship preloaded with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. With the launch of the larger unit, the price of the original 64mb units will be reduced from $39.99 to $29.99.

AMN will bring you more news from GDC 2007 all week long, so stay tuned.