Microsoft Lets Amateurs Create Xbox Games

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has announced Xbox 360 users will now be able to legally download games created by other players. While some independent developers already have such games available on their own sites, the new scheme would make titles available through the console's built-in online service, Xbox Live. Players will be able to rate and discuss the games.

The firm expects around 500 such titles to be available in the service's first year, which starts testing this spring before an official launch nearer Christmas.

People wanting to develop a game will have to use dedicated Microsoft software which has an annual $99 subscription fee.

Developers will keep the rights to their games. It's not yet clear whether the games will be available free of charge or if players will pay a fee, part of which would go to the game creator. A company spokesman said, "The time has come for the games industry to open its doors to all game creators, enabling anyone to share their creations with the world." (Source:

Seven such games are already available through the service, including an action game based on the web comic Little Gamers, puzzle game TriLinea, and the bizarrely-titled "The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai".

Microsoft has also announced that games created through XNA, the development software used for the scheme, will also work on PCs and the Zune series of portable media players. Games will be able to take advantage of the Zune's wireless capabilities to provide multiplayer gaming, and can even play stored music tracks.

It originally appeared that Microsoft staff would assess proposed games for quality and content. In fact, it turns out fellow players will be used to review games and will be able to provide feedback so that developers can fix problems. (Source:

Microsoft is taking some risks with this scheme; it could be flooded with poor quality games, and it would be embarrassing if a particularly offensive game slipped through the system and made it onto its official service. But if all goes to plan it should help build their community and boost brand loyalty by making gaming more fun.

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