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Xbox Live Arcade launches

Download classic games.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

It's official - downloading games is the new going to the shops. First we had Nintendo's revelation that you'll be able to access classic titles from its expansive back catalogue to play on your shiny new Revolution console - at a price, of course.

And now Microsoft is offering games for download with the European launch of the Xbox Live Arcade service, said to offer "a new social experience that brings popular retro classics and broad-appeal games directly to your console."

All you need to get started is the special launcher disc, which comes free with all new Xboxes or can be obtained by calling 0800 587 1102.

The disc features 12 demos of games already available, which include card and boardgame titles such as Poker, Hearts, Spades, Backgammon, Chess and Hardwood Solitare - the latter offering "more than 140 versions of solitaire", apparently. Crikey.

The puzzle and trivia category includes classics like Bejeweled and Zuma as well as Fuzzee Fever, while action/arcade games such as Alien Sky, Hamsterball, Feeding Frenzy and Marble Blast are also on offer.

And finally, you can download yourself some 'Social Sports' games, like bowling, billiards and golf.

The demos on the disc are free to play, and you don't even need an Xbox Live connection to enjoy them, but full downloads start at an introductory price of £7.49 for the basic games and £11.50 for more advanced ones. We're told that more games will be added to the Xbox Live Arcade every month.

Xbox Live Arcade is up and running right now and you'd better get in there quick - launcher discs are only available while stocks last. At least until the factory has finished making the next batch, presumably.

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