Microsoft will open the third annual Dream-Build-Play competition from 6th April, challenging bright sparks worldwide to create a game for Xbox 360 using the free XNA development tools.
Those tools have been updated, too, and mean projects featuring Xbox Live Party and Avatars are possible.
Big cash prizes plus an Xbox Live publishing contract are up for grabs, and winners will be selected this autumn.
Previous success stories include platform hackandslasher Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. The stylish-looking game will now enjoy a full Xbox Live release sometime in the coming months.
Microsoft continues to use the Game Developers Conference to focus attention on XNA, which gathers more and more momentum each year. In 2008, we were treated to limited-time trials for a handful of community-created games around the time of the event.
And with the New Xbox Experience last year came the Community Games channel, where developers can create, share and rate Xbox 360 games, which the public then get to play.
All of this doesn't mean Microsoft has forgotten to help the professional developers: the company will preview a brand new Xbox 360 dev-kit this week that has twice the debugging memory and a very nice blue paint job.
Meanwhile, Sony recently slashed the cost of the PS3 dev kit from USD 10,250 to USD 2000.