Underperforming Xbox Live Arcade games get a fighting chance to live for a little while longer.

For the time being, Microsoft is holding off on de-listing any games on its Xbox Live Arcade download service. In an interview with IGN at Tokyo Game Show this week, Microsoft corporate vice president John Schappert said news reports several months ago of the company’s plans to potentially purge XBLA games not meeting certain performance standards were taken out of context.

Previously, Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten indicated unpopular games would be delisted to make room for new games with increased size limits. In a May 2008 interview with Edge, Whitten said games older than six months that have a Metacritic score of below 65 percent and a less than six percent conversion rate on the Xbox Live service would be put on the chopping block for potential de-listing.

“This way titles are not just considered if they are not selling well or not getting good reviews, but actually a combination of both,” he said. “We will also give a three-month notice before delisting any title. Overall I think you will find this will focus the catalog more on larger, more immersive games and make it much easier to find the games you are looking for.”

Microsoft’s tune has changed, albeit temporarily. Shappert said the company was only setting up parameters to allow de-listing to occur. It doesn’t plan to actually move forward with delisting at the present time. He said they have no interest in pulling games from the service, until the volume of content begins to bog things down. “”We have no immediate plans to act on de-listing,” he said.

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