Xbox Live Indie
International Game Developers Association
|Xbox Live Indie|
|Service provider||Xbox Live|
|Development Environments||IDE Visual Studio 2010/XNA Framework 4.0|
|Average time from completion to public availability||1-2 weeks on average. Games that take more than 30 days auto-fail peer review.|
|Average price||240 MSP ($3.00)|
|Minimum price||80 MSP ($1.00)|
|Maximum price||400 MSP ($5.00)|
|Platform size (people)||30 million|
|Potential size (Active Live Accounts)||20 Million|
|Financial model||Downloadable Games|
|Top-selling game||I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IT!!!1 (160,000 copies sold at 80 MSP ($1.00) each)|
|edit this info|
The Community release of games on Xbox has the potential to earn a lot of revenue, but it comes at a higher risk than XBLA games. The trade-off is that these games can be posted without going through the XBLA process. Instead, your revenue is based off community adoption of your game. Theoretically, one can acquire a full Xbox Live Arcade contract by having a successful game on this service, but there has been no instances of this to date, excluding the winners of the annual Dream Build Play competitions.
Support Page: http://forums.xna.com/forums/
Marketing and PR
Marketing is up to the developer. Microsoft will list the 20 most recent additions to the library, the 20 most downloaded titles, and the 20 titles with the highest star ratings in special categories on the Xbox Live Game Marketplace. These lists give games that meet the criteria additional visibility. Developers are given 50 tokens when a game is approved that grant free downloads of their game for promotional purposes, but it is up to the developer to decide how to best use these 50 tokens. No additional tokens can be purchased once the 50 are spent.
- Dream Build Play
Tools and development
Games are evaluated through a peer review process before being listed for sale in the Xbox Live Indie Games section of the Game Marketplace. This process evaluates the game to ensure that it does not contain any prohibited content, that the game rating listed by the developer matches the actual content of the game, and that the game software works in a stable manner and does not crash during testing. It does not evaluate whether the game is enjoyable, and is concerned only with ensuring the game conforms to the content rules and a minimal quality of software. Microsoft provides a set of guidelines for software created for Indie Games, and there exist several helpful threads that detail common test cases and failure modes on the forums.
- Best Practices for Xbox Live Indie Games 3.1
- The Evil Checklist for Playtest/Peer Review
There exist several middle ware packages for use with XNA, many of which are open-source. This is not a complete list, and this production guide makes no claims as to the quality of these libraries. Your mileage may vary.
- Sunburn Lighting and Rendering
- Farseer Physics
Development tools are provided for free by Microsoft. Games are developed through Microsoft XNA Game Studio which is available on the website.
Development for Xbox Live Indie Games requires a Visual Studio 2010 installation, which can be the free Visual C# 2010 Express edition or one of the paid editions. The XNA Framework SDK must be installed as well, and an Xbox 360 is required for deployment and testing. Deployment to the Xbox 360 and submission of the final game requires a Creators Club Membership. Developers can develop for PC for free, and port to Xbox 360 at the end of the development cycle, but this is not recommended. The two platforms have decidedly different performance profiles, meaning a game that runs smoothly on the PC can easily be choppy on the Xbox 360.
Microsoft further offers free versions of several Digital Content Creation tools through the XNA website, including an edition of Autodesk Softimage.
Games are sold via the Xbox Live Game Marketplace, which can be accessed on an internet connected Xbox 360 or on the web. Games are priced in Microsoft Points, and payouts to developers are based on the U.S. Dollar exchange rate into Microsoft Points. (80 MPS = $1.00) Developers operating in other countries are paid based on exchange rates from the U.S. Dollar into their currency.
Terms of agreement
Developers are paid once per quarter. There is a minimum amount that must be earned before payout occurs; if this amount is not reached in a single quarter, it is rolled into the next quarter until a game reaches this minimum. Prices charged per game are set by the developer at 80, 240, or 400 Microsoft Points. Only games that are 50MB or less in size may be priced at 80 MSP; all others must be priced at 240 or 400 MSP. The maximum size a game may be is 150MB. A membership fee is required every 4-month or 1-year period, at $49 and $99 respectively, in order for the developer to publish and maintain his or her games. Revenue split gives 70% of each sale to the developer, with Microsoft keeping the remaining 30%. Developers who pass peer review are given 50 download tokens to be used to promote their game.
Game Pricing Options
80 MSP ($1.00), 240 MSP ($3.00), or 400 MSP ($5.00) (USD)
- Games Catalog
- Dream Build Play Contest