Originally set for today, Microsoft's Xbox Live Indie Game shutdown has been delayed to October 7th. Introduced in 2006 with the XNA Game Studio, this program helped many game developers start their careers.
According to a press release, this shutdown will see all Xbox Live Indie Game projects taken off the Xbox 360 store, and sending developers their final payments by November. Those who already own any XBLIG titles will always have access to them and can redownload and play at any time. The date was pushed back so gamers can still make purchases before the titles are gone forever. Microsoft is looking into archiving the games so they can be played well into the future.
While XBLIG never made it onto the Xbox One and Windows 10, its features were reintroduced under the Xbox Live Creators Program. The Creators Program allows anyone with a PC create games with access to all of Xbox Live's features. Developers partnered with the XBLIG program are eligible for free entry into the Windows 10 Developer course for publishing on [email protected].
It's always sad to see a program like this shutdown. XBLIG saw the release of some well-loved titles. Without it, we may never have experienced games like Cthulu Saves the World, Solar 2, or I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1. Following in the footsteps of the upcoming shutdown of the Xbox Live Indie Games, Nintendo has announced plans to sunset the Wii Shop channel where WiiWare and virtual console titles were available. However, unlike XBLIG, on that platform, once it goes away fully in 2019, users will not be able to re-download purchased content.
A majority of games were designed as hobbyist projects, rather than for profit. The program's first iteration didn't even allow them to be listed, only playable on the developer's console. Video game listing was introduced with the New Xbox Experience in November 2008. Those that did well were usually ported to Steam allowing developers to start making a living off their hard work.
With so many great projects coming out of these programs, it's nice to see Microsoft working on conserving them. Game preservation is a difficult task, with current game historians already having trouble doing so.
Regardless, make sure to purchase any titles you've had your eyes on before they disappear forever.