In February, Microsoft made a big noise about introducing hobbyist-developed games on the Xbox Live Marketplace by the end of the year, but the software giant has been more or less mum on the subject since. That changed this week during the company's Gamefest 2008 developer-focused game conference, as Microsoft used its keynote address to flesh out some details on the endeavor.
Set for launch this fall, "Xbox Live Community Games" will sell for 200 Microsoft points ($2.50), 800 Microsoft points ($10), or at a third price point between those two. The consumer cost of the game will be decided by the developers, who will receive "up to 70 percent" of the revenue their games generate.
Developed using Microsoft's XNA Game Studio toolset, the community titles will need to endure a peer-review process before being made available to the general Xbox 360 userbase. End users will also be able to rate the games on Xbox.com, as well as view clips and play a demo of each game before committing to a purchase. Microsoft expects that the community games will double the size of the system's game library.
The United States, Canada, and Europe will receive the new community games channel on Xbox Live Marketplace this year, with launches in other regions to come.
To help promote the launch, Microsoft is organizing the second annual Dream-Build-Play contest for XNA-developed games. One winner will receive a chance at an Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract. Three of last year's standouts--Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Blazing Birds, and Yo Ho Kablammo!--are set for release on Live Arcade "in the near future."