Xbox Frequently Asked Questions
What is Xbox Live Arcade?
XBLA is a service offered through Microsoft's Xbox 360 Console. The Arcade allows players to purchase games from an online Marketplace and then store them on their home systems. These games can be accessed at any time through the console's built in operating system.
Why is Wing Commander Arena important?
In addition to signifying a return for the long-absent Wing Commander franchise, Arena represents a quantum leap in complexity over previous XBLA releases. The arcade is best known for ports of classic console games like Galaga, Robotron 2084 and Contra, or for simple card games like Uno and Blackjack. Wing Commander Arena is a massive 3D action experience which sets a new standard for XBLA development.
What do I need to play Wing Commander Arena?
Wing Commander Arena requires an Xbox 360 Console. In order to play the game online, a major focus of Arena, you will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription.
Which Xbox 360 should I buy?
The Xbox 360 is available in both Core ($299) and Premium ($399) versions. The Premium bundle includes a wireless controller ($39.99), 20GB Hard Drive ($89.99), Live headset ($19.99) and HD component cable ($39.99). Given the separate retail prices of the added components, the Premium release is a significantly better deal.
What is an Xbox Live Gold Subscription?
At the very least, Core system owners will need to buy a separate memory card on which to download Arena. Memory cards are currently available in 64 MB allotments ($39.99). Because Microsoft is expected to increase the size limitation for XBLA games from 50 to 250 megabytes before Arena's launch, it is possible that Core users will need the Hard Drive instead.
Xbox Live accounts are divided into free (Silver) and pay (Gold) levels. Silver accounts may be set up by anyone at any time without even owning an Xbox. You can register your account here. A Silver account allows the player to purchase and try XBLA games through the Marketplace, but it does not allow him to play against others online.
How do I buy Wing Commander Arena?
A Gold account, which does, costs $49.99 for one year of service. Many commercial games ship with short Gold trial periods, and many Xbox addons include months of Gold service for free. Notably, the Xbox Live Vision Kit includes a webcam, headset and thirteen months of Gold for $79.99 -- and it is routinely available at a significant discount via Amazon.
Arena will be purchased through the Xbox 360's online Marketplace using "Microsoft Points". Players buy allotments of points from Microsoft and then use them to purchase games, themes, gamer icons, TV shows and movies.
How much will Arena cost?
Arena will cost 800 MS Points, or $10 US.
Will I need a credit card?
No. Both Xbox Live Subscription cards and Microsoft Point cards can be purchased at retail outlets like Gamestop, Best Buy and CompUSA.
Will there be a demo of Wing Commander Arena?
Yes. Every XBLA title is released alongside a demo version, allowing players to sample games before they purchase them. Demo versions are not full featured, and can not be used to unlock achievements.
What are Achievements?
Every Xbox 360 game includes a set of special challenges, or Achievements. Players vie to unlock Achievements, which are displayed online on their Xbox Live pages -- users can compare their success to those of their friends and opponents. A typical achievement might be something as simple as 'Kill 5 Enemy Pilots' or as complex as 'Visit Every Map in the Game Once'. Depending on their difficulty, each Achievement contributes a different amount to a player's total gamerscore. Every retail game may include up to 1,000 points worth of achievements and every XBLA game may include up to 200 points.
What else will enhance my gaming experience?
Wing Commander Arena will make use of the Xbox Live headset for voice chat. The headset is a must for coordinating attacks and taunting your foes. Users without headsets will hear others talk, but will not be able to join in themselves. Headsets are included with the Premium system bundle and the Live Vision Kit, or can be purchased separately.
Where can I find Wing Commander fans on Xbox Live?
Arena will also take advantage of the Xbox 360's spectacular HD output option. The system outputs video in 720p, 1080i and 1080p. In order to make use of this feature, the player must have an HDTv or monitor as well as an HD AV cable. Players with an HDTV can connect it via the HD Component Cable (included with the Premium system or sold separately for Core owners). Those with a monitor can purchase a separate VGA HD AV cable ($39.99) -- note that only the Microsoft-brand cable is currently capable of exporting all of the console's resolutions.
You can access a list of Wing Commander fan GamerTags here. Add them to your friends list in preparation for Arena!
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