Homebrew Games Coming To Xbox Live

Homebrew Games Coming To Xbox Live

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A new Microsoft initiative will allow XNA game creators to sell their work over Xbox Live in a move seen as a direct challenge to Nintendo's WiiWare and the Apple App Store.

The system will make Xbox Community Games, produced by members of the XNA Creators Club, available for purchase for 200, 400 or 800 Microsoft Points, according to a report by Develop, which says game creators will receive 70 percent of all revenues earned by their games. The new program will be launched later in the year in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Italy and Spain as part of the Xbox 360 dashboard overhaul.

"We want all creators to be able to participate in the billion dollar game industry," said Boyd Multerer, group manager of Microsoft's developer services division. "This is a big deal - we want people to create a lot of content, put it through the system and make a lot of money."

Microsoft is changing the Xbox.com website to allow gamers to select and pay for games on their PC, then download them to their consoles; a new XNA game storefront is also being added to the standard Xbox Live Arcade channel to highlight new and popular homebrew games. "The web is a great place to look through lots of content," Multerer said. "You can take the URL for that piece of content and send it to your friends."

Multerer described the XNA Creators titles as "the minor leagues" of game development, where potential developers can hone their talents and try new things. "This is where you can experiment. There will be good games and bad games. And these developers can graduate to professional leagues of Xbox Live Arcade and even Triple-A development," he said. "And it's a great way for you professional developers to identify good talent that can help your studio."

More information about the new Xbox Live Community Games program is available is available here.

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Don't you have to be a member of the XNA Creators Club (49 a month, 99 for 4 months) to be allowed to access the software and submit games?

Ah...snake oil.

L.B. Jeffries:
Don't you have to be a member of the XNA Creators Club (49 a month, 99 for 4 months) to be allowed to access the software and submit games?

Sort of. Unless I've misread that, there seem to be some free memberships available at the moment.

-- Steve

A way for indie devs to get noticed? Great. Seems like a nice way for them to strut their stuff. Of course, mods should be free, but new games seem fine.

L.B. Jeffries:
Don't you have to be a member of the XNA Creators Club (49 a month, 99 for 4 months) to be allowed to access the software and submit games?

If I read everything correctly, you need to be a Creator's Club member to create and submit the Xbox360 XNA games to the service. You can also just download all the tools and develop the games without a membership, and test them (or release them) on the PC.

On the other hand, you won't need to have a membership to buy/play the games, which is the only way you could do that now.

I don't have any problem with the $99/year membership fee for the creator's club - it's a small barrier to entry, but nothing near what you'd need to get an actual dev kit for a console. The only thing similar to this, Sony's Net Yaroze, was vastly more expensive ($750 just for the hardware component) and had much poorer tools and support.

Virgil:

L.B. Jeffries:
Don't you have to be a member of the XNA Creators Club (49 a month, 99 for 4 months) to be allowed to access the software and submit games?

If I read everything correctly, you need to be a Creator's Club member to create and submit the Xbox360 XNA games to the service. You can also just download all the tools and develop the games without a membership, and test them (or release them) on the PC.

On the other hand, you won't need to have a membership to buy/play the games, which is the only way you could do that now.

I don't have any problem with the $99/year membership fee for the creator's club - it's a small barrier to entry, but nothing near what you'd need to get an actual dev kit for a console. The only thing similar to this, Sony's Net Yaroze, was vastly more expensive ($750 just for the hardware component) and had much poorer tools and support.

Eh, just raising an eyebrow. Given that the market is going to be flooded with various games, it will be interesting to see how many people actually make that money back. People who claim to be selling opportunity should always be taken with a grain of salt.

The comparison to WiiWare is probably a bad idea. WiiWare is really more of a contemporary to the Live Arcade program already in place. Both are only available to licensed developers with dev kits. This new program lets people develop games for a negligible cost, and submit them for peer review for free. It's actually a pretty bold step for consoles, and the XNA suite is pretty nice.

I'm a little worried that it's going to be hard to get things through the program for lack of willing peer "testers", though.

 

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