Community games appearing on Xbox Live

Another announcement at GDC, Microsoft’s Xbox division announced they are creating an open distribution service for games created by the community (they really stressed community). Games that have been created using the XNA framework can be downloaded from Xbox Live.

According to Major Nelson, seven games that were “created by the community” will appear on Xbox Live for free (17 day trials [this was not mentioned until later, sneaky Microsoft]). He didn’t mention if this is a limited time trial or not (NOTE: THESE ARE TRIAL GAMES. NOT FREE). I would guess that you will need the XNA framework tool (that’s been available for download off of Xbox Live since XNA started). Nelson states that he’ll put up a video on how to download these games on the Inside Xbox section of the dashboard.

Is this a sign that Microsoft is going to allow homebrews on the Xbox? Who knows…

New info on WiiWare

A while back, Nintendo announced a new feature called WiiWare, which would allow game developers to create simple games and sell them on the Wii Shop Channel. After that statement, WiiWare wasn’t heard from again.

Today at GDC, WiiWare was finally given a date of launch, May 12th. On that day, the first games for the service will start to show up in the Wii Shop Channel (you’ll notice there is a section for WiiWare already). According to Nintendo, new games will appear regularly from developers both big and small.

Final Fantasy My Life as a KingAlso some games mentioned in the press release. The two that were mentioned are FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King and a game called LostWinds.

My Life as a King builds upon the old GameCube game and features some pretty spiffy graphics (click the image for more images) for a downloadable game. All of the game prices are determined by the developer of the game. I would expect some reasonably high prices for most games, unless Nintendo sets a price limit later on.

Lost Winds The other game, LostWinds, looks a bit more cartoony and less serious. Nintendo didn’t provide a description for LostWinds, but rather just gave out screenshots. From the shots, I can conclude that you obviously control the wind using the WiiMote, and the person who appears to be the main character reacts to the wind.

We expect to hear more about the details of these titles near the launching of of the WiiWare system.