GDC: 360 gets more memory

Plus XBLA games get bigger.

Microsoft has kicked off proceedings at this year's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco by announcing a new 512MB memory unit for the Xbox 360, as well as upping the size limit for Live Arcade games.

The new memory will be available from 3rd April for US$ 49.99, and for a limited amount of time will be pre-loaded with EG fav Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. The existing 64MB stick will also drop to US$ 29.99. UK and European pricing details have yet to emerge.

This new hardware will accommodate the increased girth of Live Arcade titles, which will move from a 50 MB limit up to 150 MB - effective immediately.

There's been much speculation this year about whether Microsoft would make this move, particularly after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night proved too big to be shoehorned into the existing Arcade restrictions.

"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," said Chris Early, product unit manager for Xbox Live Arcade. "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."

Which all sounds very promising, much like the XBLA line-up for the up-coming months that Microsoft was keen to restate. Of most interest will be Boom Boom Rocket in spring, Bizarre Creation's first Arcade title since the saucy Geometry Wars, and Rare's Jetpac Refuelled later in the year.

Following those are 3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures from Wanako Games, Eets: Chowdown from Klei, and Pinball FX from ZEN Studios.

Of course, Worms is this week's XBLA offering, and we'll be bringing you our thoughts on that soon.

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