Microsoft shutting down Xbox Live Indie Games program

For the next year, developers will be able to publish games on the Xbox 360's indie marketplace -- and in two, it will be shut down for good.

Today, Microsoft sent an email to developers registered for its Xbox Live Indie Games program notifying them that it will be completely shut down by the end of 2017.

The post has been reproduced on the Xbox Live Indie Games forum, and details the end of a program that got any and everyone who wanted to make console games a chance to do so as long as they had a Windows PC and a retail Xbox 360 system.

As of today, developers will no longer be able to purchase a subscription to the service. However, they can contact Microsoft directly for continued access. A year from today -- September 9, 2016 -- the service will no longer accept new games at all. Approximately a year later, in September 2017, the marketplace will be closed, and the final payout to creators will come in November. On December 31, 2017, the official XNA Creators website will shut down.

Microsoft first announced the initiative in 2006; it was enabled by a development framework called XNA and allowed users to publish their games on Xbox 360 and PC. By 2008, the "Community Games" service, as it used to be called, was a big push for Microsoft.

The XNA tool, however, was discontinued in 2013, and Xbox Live Indie Games did not make it to the Xbox One. Many developers, however, got their indie start there -- and it meant a lot to them. Former Insomniac developer Nathan Fouts went indie thanks to XBLIG, and writes about his experience here.

For the current generation, Microsoft launched the ID@Xbox program, but has yet to make good on the promise that developers will be able to use retail consoles to publish to Xbox One.

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