Microsoft has announced that the Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) program will begin to be phased out, and eventually shut down.
Subscriptions and renewals to the program are no longer accepted as of last week.
For those unfamiliar, XBLIG allowed indie developers to create and self-publish games for the 360. Basically, it was Microsoft assisting in the creation of indie games for their platform. Notable examples of games that came out of the program include Flotilla, Techno Kitten Adventure, and I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1.
To pay it forward to developers who created games for the publisher, Microsoft is giving all valid subscribers a lifetime Windows Developer account, and will pay the developers all the money earned from their games.
Microsoft has also clarified that the games made through this program will remain available to download after the service ends.
You may be wondering why Microsoft decided to end this program, and well, the answer is fairly simple: it’s a lot easier to make an Indie game toady than it was 7 years ago.
With publicly available games engines like Unity, developers no longer need proprietary tools and assistance from big publishers for help.
Chris Charla, head of ID@Xbox, the successor to this program that uses public game engines, had this to say on the matter:
“Creators have more platforms they can ship on today than ever before, and more and better tools to help them every day – and our priority is ensuring that we give independent developers the support they need to take the next step with us towards the future of gaming.”
So it appears that Xbox is still keen on making sure indie developers create games for their platform; now they’re just taking a less hands-on approach.
Farewell Xbox Live Indie Games, thank you for giving small developers the opportunity to make big games.