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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