During its GDC 2008 opening keynote, Microsoft has unveiled its answer to the often-speculated idea of ‘a gaming YouTube’, with a service called Xbox Live Community Games.
The service will allow XNA developers to upload their creations to be played by any of the 10 million Xbox Live members, without the need for a Creators Club subscription or PC link.
"18 months ago, we revolutionised the industry by democritising game development with XNA," said XNA lead Chris Satchell.
"We unlocked the same retail console that you play games on for development. When we did the Dream Build Play competition, we picked four titles that we wanted to give commercial contracts to. But when we thought about it, we thought it was sad that all of those other great games didn’t have a chance to be played by everyone."
He continued: "Now it’s time to democritise game distribution. And to do that, we need to put the power in the hands of the community."
As such, the distribution service will not be controlled by Microsoft, but by the community itself. Explaining the flow of the service, Satchell divided the pipeline into four parts – Create, Submit, Peer Review and Play. The first part covers the creation of the game using XNA Game Studio 2.0. Once the title has been completed, developers can upload their game to the service and set content descriptors that show the level of certain types of content in the game.
Once that has happened, the game enters the Peer Review stage, where community members check the game for forbidden content – essentially boiled down to anything that infringes someone else’s IP or anything that may fairly be considered objectionable – and assess the developer-declared content descriptors. After that, the game is available on the service for the 10 million Xbox Live users to play.
Like the gamer identity that Xbox Live provides for gamers, the service will give an identity to developers, showing their history and allowing them to gain a following.
"We talked about our vision back at GDC 2004, and I really think we’ve more than delivered on that vision. This year we complete it by democratising game distribution, by connecting all those creators in the community with the audience of Xbox Live," concluded Satchell.