by Anton Shilov
02/21/2008 | 06:41 AM
In an announcement during the keynote address at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft Corp. promised to soon allow Xbox Live members to play, rate and share community-created games. The games may be free or inexpensive, the company indicated. The new titles will primarily target casual gamers, which may boost popularity of the Xbox 360 gaming platform.
“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. Our goal is to drive a creative and social revolution in games with the same transformative power that we’ve seen in digital music and video sharing,” said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Live, software and services for the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft.
Community-created games on Xbox Live will quickly double the size of the Xbox 360 game library, Microsoft indicated. By the end of 2008, Xbox 360 owners will have access to more than 1000 games, making it the largest, most creatively diverse library across all next-generation platforms, the software giant promised.
User-created games are not something completely new to the video game industry. Many of modern titles are shipped with special tools to modify them and/or create completely new levels or even titles. However, such levels are usually created by hardcore gamers for hardcore gamers. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether casual gamers will appreciate community-made simplistic games.
Demonstrating a look into the future potential of community-created games on Xbox 360, Chris Satchell, general manager and chief XNA architect at Microsoft, announced that seven games created using XNA Game Studio 2.0 would be available immediately for Xbox 360 owners to download from Xbox Live Marketplace:
An Xbox 360 community game created using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio software and XNA Creators Club membership will be able to be submitted for distribution on Xbox Live. Each community-created game must then undergo a thorough peer-review process and be evaluated for accuracy in representation and appropriateness. Community game developers will be able to beta test the process this spring and will be able to distribute their games on Xbox Live by the end of this year.