We often hear that big-budget games on home consoles and PC must "play it safe" so that publishers can make back their money from exorbitant development costs and trickle it down to the developers. With the Xbox Live Arcade it's supposed to be the place where developers can exercise more freedom and creative endeavors on a smaller budget. However, according to a new report it looks like "playing it safe" applies to more than just the big-budget retail releases.

According to XBLA Fans, they did a bit of investigating and found that established brands out-numbered both original IP and ported IP when it came to game releases on the Xbox Live Arcade.

To be exact, ported or remade games such as Sonic CD and Bejeweled 3 only made up for 12 of the games released in 2011 for the Xbox Live Arcade. New IP or original games made up for 30 of the games released throughout 2011 and unsurprisingly, sequels and established brands accounted for more than 51 of the games released across the Xbox Live Arcade platform.

What's also interesting is that the 51 games that make up for established franchises and sequels actually had a cumulatively lower MetaCritic score than original IP and ported games, with the 51 titles averaging a 64 out of 100, while original IP middled-out at 69 and ports leading the pack with an average MetaCritic score of 77 out of 100.

So what does this tell us folks? That a lot of publishers feel that even making low-budget titles for the Xbox Live Arcade would still prefer keeping it safe to make as much money as possible as opposed to risking something new even on a lower budget. Quite sad, really.

Still, there were some great original games released throughout 2011 on the sub-platforms that really stood out, including Dungeon Defenders, Bastion and Orcs Must Die! to name a few.

What's really interesting, though, is that many of the top sellers throughout 2011 on the Live Arcade were actually original games, with stuff like From Dust, Castle Crashers and TorchLight making the list. Of course, there were casual titles like Full House Poker leading the pack, but would you really expect anything less from casual gamers?

You can check out the full report of the breakdown over at XBLA Fans.

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