LAS VEGAS — It’s not going to be the next “Halo” or “Modern Warfare,” but I’ll bet the retro “Game Room” service the company announced at CES will be a huge hit.
The company built a virtual arcade within Xbox Live stuffed with original arcade games from the ’70s through the ’90s. To make them accurate, it tracked down original arcade setups on places like eBay and employee homes.
Here’s a demo by Frank Pape, a senior director in Microsoft Game Studios, who led the project. (Apologies in advance for the audio quality …)
It will have at least 30 games, such as “Centipede,” when it debuts in March. All can be sampled free. You can buy copies for $3 for Xbox versions, $3 for PC versions or $5 for both. Or you can pay 50 cents to play until you lose.
Players can compete against friends for high score on various games and play head-to-head on multiplayer games on a console in the same room.
Microsoft expects to have more than 1,000 games on the site within a few years.
It seems perfect for phones and Zunes, but the company’s not saying anything about mobile versions — yet.