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Xbox Live Indie Games face extinction in 2017

Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG), a service that publishes downloadable Xbox 360 titles made by hobbyist developers, will cease operations in 2017 as part of a “sunsetting process” Microsoft recently¬†outlined.

The extended shutdown period will allow developers to finish and release in-progress games before the service is fully discontinued.

Microsoft announced that it is no longer accepting new subscriptions or membership renewals for the XNA Creators Club, an enthusiast-run community that evaluates and publishes Xbox Live Indie Games submitted by fellow users. Existing members will have their subscriptions extended through September 9, 2016, and afterward will receive a free lifetime Windows Developer account valued at $100.

New Xbox Live Indie Games will continue to be published through September 9, 2017. At that point, Microsoft will close its XBLIG online storefront, remove all existing games for sale, and pay out all revenue owed to featured developers.

Players who bought XBLIG content in the past will still be able to re-download their purchases after the shutdown. Microsoft also assures that it is taking steps to preserve existing XBLIG content for future study and analysis.

“Longer term, over the next two years we’ll be working with game conservationists and creators to preserve the legacy of XBLIG content,” Microsoft’s Chris Charla and Andy Dunn stated. “We look forward to sharing more details in the future.”

Launched in 2008 as Xbox Live Community Games, the Xbox Live Indie Games service currently hosts more than 3,000 titles created by enthusiasts and independent development studios. The bulk of XBLIG’s catalog consists of small-scale and niche projects, many of which are priced at $1 each.

Notable XBLIG hits include the music-driven twin-stick shooter I Made a Game with Zombies In It, the student-developed platformer CarneyVale: Showtime, and Minecraft-inspired sandbox construction titles like CastleMiner Z, FortressCraft, and Survival Games.

In the wake of this week’s shutdown announcement, longtime XBLIG developer Mommy’s Best Games announced that bundle all of its previously published games in a Steam compilation launching on September 23.