As it would turn out, releasing a string of high-quality titles in quick succession will do wonders for monthly sales figures. Microsoft said today that it broke its monthly sales revenue high for Xbox Live by 67 percent in August, thanks to its five-week "Summer of Arcade" promotion and the games that came with it. The service also saw a 58 percent spike in unique members purchasing downloadable content during the month.
Announced at the tail end of July, the Summer of Arcade promotion featured a 100,000-Microsoft point ($1,250) giveaway and coincided with the launch of a number anticipated titles. Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 led the month, scoring critical praise for its addition of cooperative and competitive modes to the 2005 original, with Jonathan Blow's Braid garnering effusive acclaim a week later for its puzzle design and striking art style.
Namco Bandai and Capcom followed with well-received remakes of their respective Galaga and Bionic Commando franchises, the latter of which sold 130,000 copies in its first week. The Behemoth's long-in-the-making beat-'em-up Castle Crashers rounded out the month, finding approbation for its keen sense of humor, art design, and multitude of gameplay modes.
"At E3, we committed to refocusing the Xbox Live Arcade business, vowing to release bigger and better games while focusing on quality and not quantity,” commented Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten in a statement. "The debut of the new strategy proved to be a huge success, with the Summer of Arcade making August the highest grossing month to date."
As for that commitment during this year's E3, Microsoft outlined a number of key titles coming to Xbox Live that it hopes will continue the momentum. Games yet to be released from that announcement included Valve's Portal: Still Alive, a game based on Comedy Central's South Park, a revamp of Rare's N64 classic Banjo-Kazooie, and a sequel to the 2006 unexpected hit, Uno Rush.