In addition to getting a name change, Xbox Live Community Games is getting a new price format. XNA is a toolset used primarily for game development. In the holiday season of 2008, Microsoft decided to expand their toolset to support Xbox 360. As a result, independent developers can sell their games on the Xbox Live Marketplace without going through the usual process.
To do so, you need to be a premium member of the XNA Creators Club. For a small fee of $49 for four months or $99 for an entire year, you can begin the process of selling your games on the Xbox Live Marketplace of the Xbox 360. After submission, your game will be peer reviewed where other XNA Creators Club members need to approve it. Once it passes, your game will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace of the Xbox 360 for one of the three following price points of your choosing: 200 (approximately $2.50), 400 ($5.00) and 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00).
These types of downloadable games are called Xbox Live Community Games. XNA Creators Club members get 70% of the revenue while Microsoft takes the remaining piece of the pie for every purchase. Xbox Live Community Games launched on November 19, 2008.
For 2009, Microsoft decided to give their program an overhaul. First off, Xbox Live Community Games is now known as Xbox Live Indie Games. The bigger change has to do with the pricing structure, however. Instead of 200-400-200 Microsoft Points structure for Xbox Live Community Games, Xbox Live Indie Games can only be sold at 80($1.00), 240 ($3.00), or 400 Microsoft Points ($5.00).
Previous games will also be affected. 200 Microsoft Points titles will drop down to 80 Microsoft Points. Current 400 Microsoft Points Xbox Live Community Games on the Xbox Live Marketplace will stay at the price point unless the submitter decided to manually change it. The same holds true for 800 Microsoft Points Xbox Live Community Games, expect that the submitter must lower the price if they plan to update his game.
Just like before, XNA Creators Club members can pick their own price tag for their downloadable games. The lone exception is the 80 Microsoft Points level, which will require a game to be 50 MB or lower to be eligible. This is probably done to save server costs for storing low priced games.
It will be interesting to see how the XNA Creators Club members respond to the changes of the pricing structure for Xbox Live Indie Games, which will take effect on October 22, 2009.