When Portal: Still Alive dropped on Xbox LIVE Arcade yesterday, we noticed that the file size for the game was clocking in close to 700MB. This confused us as we were under the impression that Microsoft had put a limit of 350MB on downloadable games for XBLA.
This is not the case. We reached out to Microsoft for a comment and they let us know that they, "have set file limits as a general guideline. An important part Xbox LIVE Arcade is easy access, and keeping file size down is a vital part of that. Equally important is offering titles with superior gameplay. [They] weigh both considerations on a case-by-case basis, and will make exceptions when [it] makes sense to ensure the best customer experience."
There you go. The 350MB limit is not really a limit at all, and Microsoft is willing to let high-profile games like Portal go above that limit if it means bringing games to LIVE Arcade.
This is a good way for Microsoft to stay competitive as Sony is aggressively pursuing full digital distribution as a way of releasing PS3 games with titles like SOCOM: Confrontation, Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, and EA's Burnout: Paradise available to download.