It's easy to sneer at XBLIG. Really easy, because a lot of what comprised the open-armed game creation service was very stupid and absolutely worth sneering at. Cheapo avatar quizzes, leering sexist trash and broken, broken, broken things. And yet I'm left really very sad that Microsoft has finally formally announced its closure (opens in new tab).
Chris Charla, head honcho of new-gen XBLA and XBLIG successor, ID@Xbox, explains that yesterday (9th September) marked the final day of any new developer subscriptions to the service. Existing creators will have a year to publish any new games. A year after that, XBLIG will be fully shuttered for all - although any games bought by players before that will be available to re-download indefinitely.
As I very subtly intimated, the service was home to some laughably terrible (opens in new tab) stuff, but by throwing open the doors to many who would never have previously had the opportunity to make a game at all, the talent on show went both ways. Some of the programme's games were legitimately incredible (opens in new tab), and remain worth your time and pennies to this day. On the whole, ID@Xbox's more curated approach is probably a good thing, but there's something oddly noble about simply opening the floodgates like XBLIG did and letting people fish out the best stuff that rolls past.
It seems as though Microsoft won't simply ditch the games that live on the service - Charla adds, "over the next two years we’ll be working with game conservationists and creators to preserve the legacy of XBLIG content" - but the age of truly all-access indie on Xbox is over. Bye bye XBLIG, it's been weird.
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