Yesterday, myself and many other hobbyist and aspiring indie game developers received a bittersweet email from Microsoft informing us of the sunsetting of Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) and the XNA Creator's Club. You can read the full announcement here. This comes as no surprise as Microsoft has moved on to Xbox One and ID@Xbox and most developers have moved on to other platforms and toolkits.
This feels much like what I believe the passing of a forgotten childhood friend must feel like. At one time we played together, we toiled together, we cried, we laughed, and we danced. While I haven't thought of you in a while, you and I were once, even if only for a brief period of time, an inseparable team. Together we dreamed of conquering the world. You challenged me, and you made me grow. You helped forge the person who I am today, and while we haven't played together in years... I am going to miss you.
I think there are others that must feel this way. XBLIG was more than just a platform for games. It made possible the dreams that thousands of us had to use our talents to build something special. We dreamed, we built, and we played.
Many of the games on XBLIG aren't very good, mine for example, but that doesn't matter. There is beauty in even some of the worst games. Look beyond the paint-like art, the amateur sound, and the clunky gameplay and see the developer on the other end hacking away late into the night while they endeavor to master this medium. Every flaw you find is a footprint of the human struggle to will something into existence. This platform and community was the starting place for some of the best in indie games today. Without XBLIG to inspire those that undertook the tremendous effort that is to build a game we would not have some of the masterpieces we have today. We all had to learn to walk once.
So to say goodbye to XBLIG I am going to embark on a personal game jam. My one terrible game Controdazone was released on Oct 7, 2010. For the next month I am going to work on trying to build a better version of this game. I will not be able to release the remake on XBLIG, and I may not finish it at all, but for the next month I am going to remember what it was like to live the dream as I did 5 years ago.
Feel free to join me in this game jam! Show the world what you have learned in the many years since XNA was first released. If nothing else, have fun as we say goodbye to this old friend.