Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

XNA games to be posted on Live

Trials up now. Some to work on Zune.

Microsoft plans to "democratise" game development and distribution by allowing amateur game developers to release XNA games on Xbox Live Marketplace following peer-review.

Speaking at GDC, chief XNA architect Chris Satchell also revealed that trial versions of several community-made games are now available to download on Xbox Live Marketplace.

He didn't stop at that, either. XNA games will now also work on Zune MP3 players (does anyone actually own one?) with wireless multiplayer support. Microsoft in handheld gaming! Sort of.

"For the first time ever this year you'll be able to have community games distributed via Xbox Live," Satchell told an excitable audience in the Moscone Center Esplanade Ballroom as part of Microsoft's GDC keynote speech.

The community will be able to create, submit, review and play the games. "I'm not going to be the arbiter of what the community does," said Satchell. Instead people will be able to specify what's in their game, then let other creators check it for prohibited content (e.g. copyright infringement) before accepting it.

Some of the first XNA games to appear will be Jellycar, Dishwasher, ProximityHD, Culture, Rocketball and Trilinea. Jellycar and Dishwasher were both shown - the latter is a 2D hackandslash featuring cyborgs, while Jellycar is a smashing little side-scrolling physics racer.

Thanks to this initiative, Microsoft hopes to give us all truckloads more content to download from Xbox Live this year, in addition to the 1000+ Xbox 360 games that will be available in total by the end of the year.