Xbox Live Indie Games last edited by Nes on 06/01/20 10:25PM View full history

Overview

An example
An example "cover art" for a XBLIG game.

Xbox Live Indie Games (formerly Xbox Live Community Games) was a line of downloadable games for the Xbox 360 that were created, peer-reviewed, and self-published by a community of independent developers for the Xbox Live Marketplace. It was introduced to the public on November 19, 2008, was not available in all regions, and was discontinued on October 7, 2017.

All games classified as XBLIG titles were developed using the Microsoft XNA framework and had limited Xbox Live functionality. While games can make use of some of Xbox Live's special functionality (including online multiplayer, party chat, and Xbox Avatars), other parts of the platform were restricted (with games not showing in players' game lists and having no support for the platform's achievement or leaderboard systems).

XBLIG Games were only sold in the "Indie Games" section of the Xbox Live Marketplace (with limited visibility outside of the section) and were sold for either 80, 240, or 400 Microsoft Points (approx. $1, $3, and $5, respectively). Prior to the service's rebranding, they were sold for either 200, 400, or 800 MSP (approx. $2.50, $5, and $10, respectively).

One unique feature of XBLIG Games is that all games have an enforced eight-minute trial period, where players can download and run the game on their Xbox Live account as a free timed demo. After eight minutes of runtime, the game is paused and the player is given the option to either quit the game or purchase the full version to keep playing. Once eight minutes are up, the player can no longer try the game out without buying it. Prior to the service's rebranding, it was a four-minute trial period.

While the service received some notable original games (such as The Impossible Game, Breath of Death VII: The Beginning, Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES, Bleed, DLC Quest, Streets of Fury, Techno Kitten Adventure, Beat Hazard, Flotilla, Mount Your Friends, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!!1, and the Arkedo Series trilogy), some of which were later made available on other platforms, it also received notoriety for its abundance of low-quality games (as none of the games were reviewed by Microsoft themselves), basic software (such as simple controller testers), and clones of popular games (such as Minecraft and the Call of Duty series). Many of these games make excessive use of Xbox Avatar support as a core feature (as a more effective substitute for modelling player characters).

While the XNA framework itself was later discontinued on January 2013 and received no Xbox One support (with no XBLIG games being backwards compatible), it was still supported up until the service's closure on October 7, 2017 (with Microsoft focusing more on the ID@Xbox program for the Xbox One).

Distribution Restrictions

Developers had to be members of the XNA Creators Club program (requiring an annual subscription of $100-200), required a separate process for having their game released (including passing the Peer Review system), and had their own separate restrictions:

  • Games had limited visibility in the Xbox Live Marketplace. It was later hidden further by the Indie Games section being part of the "Specialty Shops" section, away from other types of games in the Marketplace.
  • Games could only take up a very limited amount of space on the player's hard drive. This was originally 150 MB, and was later upgraded to 500 MB.
  • Games had to be priced in one of three tiers, and developers only received 70% of the game's profits. The bottom-most tier were only accessible to games that had a small file size (50 MB prior to the rebrand, 150 MB afterwards).
  • Games had a mandatory timed demo period, which were enforced outside of the game could not be changed at all by the developer. They can, however, determine if the player was playing in the demo format to add further nag screens or restrict content.
  • Developers had a limited amount of games that can be published at once. Originally it was eight, and it was raised to 20 in a later date.

Regions

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Singapore
  • Spain

Games with Ports, Remakes, and Sequels on Other Platforms

As XBLIG games were developed using Microsoft's cross-platform XNA framework, most games could be ported to PCs (running Windows XP and higher) with minimal effort, although Xbox Live functionality (including profiles, multiplayer, and Xbox Avatar support) could not be used. Later versions of XNA also supported porting to Windows Phone 7 devices. Because of this, many high-profile games later received PC ports, usually released via Steam.

After the discontinuation of XNA on January 2013, the project received multiple alternate implementations, the most prominent of which was Mono.XNA (for the Mono framework). This was later used for MonoGame, which allowed some developers to port their XBLIG game to numerous platforms (including non-Microsoft consoles and mobile devices).

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