Microsoft Kicks Off the Era of User-Generated Console Games

Games are starting to catch up with movies in this respect: Low-budget titles from indie studios have the same chance to succeed as blockbusters. And the indie game makers are about to make their biggest strides yet as Microsoft (MSFT) prepares to sell user-generated games on the Xbox 360 game console.

The launch of the Xbox Live Community Games Channel on Nov. 19 represents the biggest step yet toward embracing games made by professional independent developers, amateurs, students and ordinary gamers. The games launched on the channel, which will start in the dozens, will be available for 14 million-plus Xbox Live gamers to purchase for fees ranging from $2.50 to $10. The game channel is a part of a big makeover for the Xbox Live online gaming service.

Anyone who uses Microsoft’s $99 XNA Game Studio Express tools can create games that run on the Xbox 360 or the PC. More than a million tool sets have been downloaded.

Read the rest of this post