What is the Summer of Arcade?

Since 2008, Microsoft has been featuring five downloadable Xbox Live Arcade games in the “Summer of Arcade” promotion. Some of the biggest XBLA games to date have all come out of it, creating a sort of “summer movie blockbuster” feel to the event, which typically runs through July and August. Generally, Microsoft attempts to incentivize gamers to purchase each of the games with sales and bonuses, giving a few hundred Microsoft points back depending on the number of games bought.

It really is just a bunch of marketing slang and buzz. Microsoft looked at the schedule for the year, realized that nothing happens in July and August, and decided to shove it's flag into those months, hoping to conquer the summer doldrums by releasing a few big, awesome XBLA games in a row (with some mediocrity scrambled in for good measure).

This year, the Summer of Arcade begins this week, and continues through August, and Microsoft will reimburse 400 Microsoft Points to anyone that buys three games.

Looking back through the years provides a good look at the level of quality that has come out of the Summer of Arcade. Sure, there have been some missteps (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, we’re looking at you), but, generally speaking, the promotion had provided us with some of the best downloadable games in years.





While we know many of you are already well-versed in the lingo of the industry, we wanted to take time to occasionally explain what some of the terms, promotions, and events were, just in case you’re in the dark. Look forward to more “What is _______” stories in the future!

Hollander Cooper

Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.