The Microsoft Live Arcade, also known as Xbox Live Arcade, is a online game market operated by Microsoft which allows Xbox and Xbox 360 users to download games and game demos to their consoles. Games available come from a variety of sources, some are original to the console, while some are ports or emulations of games released at a earlier time. There are times where games are free or free for a limited time but most games must be purchased with Microsoft Live points. These points can be purchased online with a credit card, or cards with a number of points on the card can also be purchased in stores.
It was first launched November 3, 2004 for the original Xbox. The following year on November 22, 2005 Live Arcade was relaunched for the Xbox 360. From then on every new game addition to the Live Arcade had support for leader boards, achievement points, and high-definition 720p graphics. All new games also would have a trial version available for free download. Other features have since become available through software updates such as additional sorting options, friends leader board, faster enumeration of games, "Tell a friend" messages", and an auto-download feature for new trial games.