Xbox LIVE Indie Games

Xbox LIVE Indie Games

Frequently Asked Questions

registration

submission

peer review

game pricing

payments

game features and updates

regional information

rock band network

other questions

registration

How do I sign up for an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership?

Purchase a membership through the Xbox LIVE Indie Games web site.

Do I need an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership to create games?

You must be an Xbox LIVE Indie Games member and in a supported region to create games for the Xbox 360, to publish Xbox 360 games to Indie Games on Xbox LIVE, to peer review submitted games.

Do I need an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership to publish my Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

Yes. An Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership is required to develop and publish games for Xbox 360. An Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership may be purchased for $99 USD for 12 months.

Can I submit or review Indie Games if I have an Xbox LIVE Indie Games 12-Month Academic Trial Membership that I got from my school or from the DreamSpark program?

A free Xbox LIVE Indie Games 12-Month Academic Trial Membership will enable you to create games for the Xbox 360, but not to publish Xbox 360 games to Xbox LIVE Indie Games or to peer review submitted games.

submission

Who can submit Xbox LIVE Indie Games for sale in Xbox LIVE Marketplace?

A member of the Xbox LIVE Indie Games whose membership is in good standing and is a legal adult (for the countries we currently serve, this means 18 years of age or older).

How does an independent developer or enthusiast go about getting his XNA Game Studio-developed game published on Xbox LIVE Marketplace?

This will be done through following a simple 4-step process:

  1. Create
  2. Submit
  3. Peer Review
  4. Play

We understand that with great power comes great responsibility, and if we're going to allow the community to have that breadth of content, we need to provide the tools to allow the community to manage it. We've already talked about the first step, "create." The next step in the process is "submit," where as a developer you need to provide information about your game and classify it by using consistent guidelines. After you submit your game, it's in the hands of your peers who will review the game based on a few basic principles. Your fellow Xbox LIVE Indie Games reviewers will be making sure there's no prohibitive content like IP infringement or objectionable subject matter. Then they'll make sure you have classified your game correctly. This isn't to put constraints on your game, but rather to make sure consumers are accurately informed about what they're downloading. Once your game successfully passes peer review, it's pushed through to Xbox LIVE. It's as simple as "create," "submit," "review," and "play."

I'm a Microsoft employee. Can I submit games?

Microsoft Employees may submit games for distribution on Xbox LIVE Marketplace in compliance with the Microsoft employee moonlighting policy.

Contingent staff at Microsoft are subject to the same rules and restrictions around peer review and game submission as Microsoft employees. Contingent staff should check with their employers for any moonlighting concerns.

Am I required to send my game to playtest before submitting it for peer review approval?

No, but we recommend it. Playtest will help you catch hardware and software problems with your game, as well as feedback on gameplay and appropriateness for Xbox LIVE. Much better to find out problems before you annoy customers.

How complex does the game have to be?

There are no complexity requirements for game submission. The only requirement is that the game be complete, which can be defined per game.

So I can make clones of games already on Xbox LIVE Arcade or somewhere else?

Not any more than you can make copies of Halo 3. When you submit a game, you stipulate that you own all the rights to the materials in your game. If you don't own the rights, don't submit the game.

Who owns the IP rights to the game I create? Can I distribute my game on non-Microsoft services?

You own the complete IP rights to your game, and you're free to distribute through any service of your choosing. However, we may provide incentives for exclusive distribution through Microsoft services.

How do I set the rating for my Indie Game?

Xbox LIVE Indie Games aren't rated by a ratings board. Instead, the games are reviewed by Xbox LIVE Indie Games members. These games will have a game classification before they appear on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Will parental controls affect access to my Indie Game?

Yes. All Xbox LIVE Indie Games are considered unrated. Unrated is the highest level of restriction on the Xbox 360 console. Indie Games will be inaccessible on consoles with activated parental controls.

What are the requirements for my game binary?

The game package must be less than 500MB compressed (as a .ccgame package) and compiled to run with the XNA 3.1 Framework or higher. It must be virus-free and contain only intellectual property you own the rights for. More detail on game binary requirements.

What are the requirements for promotional materials that accompany my game submission?

They are:

Title: 30 characters
Description: 400 characters
Thumbnail: One, 64x64 pixels, JPG only
Box Art: One, 584x700 pixels, JPG only
Screenshots: One to four, 1000x562 pixels, JPG only, < 150K size
Video: Many developers find it helpful to promote their game by hosting a video of gameplay (or marketing the game).

Note: Descriptions in local languages help sell games. You can have descriptions in as many languages as we support; however, you'll need to recruit peer reviewers who speak these languages in order to approve your game. A game won't pass peer review if its descriptions aren't reviewed.

How will I know what's happening with my game while it's in review?

You can check your game's peer review progress in the game details page in the games catalog.

What happens if my game is rejected?

If your game is rejected in peer review, the email address associated with your profile will receive a notification along with any data the reviewers could offer about the reason for rejection. Remember to playtest your game before submitting to peer review; playtest enables you to find problems before the game hits peer review.

Why do the classification sliders in game submission or review not work properly?

If you encounter strange behavior with the classification sliders, such as suddenly changing values or being unable to select certain values, check your browser's zoom settings; anything other than 100% may cause the sliders to behave erratically. Set your zoom to 100% and try again.

Why does my game package upload not complete properly?

If you attempt to upload a game package and encounter a problem, check the length of the package filename. The filename must be no longer than 100 characters for the upload to be successful.

peer review

Is there a certification process for Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

Games developed by the community don't go through the same certification process that professional games do. Instead, Xbox LIVE Indie Games uses a unique community driven peer review and validation process to ensure game details accurately reflect the game's subject matter and content through our game classification system.

Will Microsoft decide which Indie Games are published?

No. While games must be developed within the submission guidelines, Xbox LIVE Indie Games democratizes game development and distribution by placing the tools and processes in the hands of our Xbox LIVE gaming community.

What's keeping Xbox LIVE Indie Games members from certifying games that have inappropriate sexual or violent content?

There are checks and balances throughout the peer review system that enable community created games to be submitted, approved, and ultimately distributed over Xbox LIVE. Each peer reviewer is rewarded with a better reviewer reputation by the system for accuracy. Conversely, reviewers can get penalized or even banned from reviewing games, should the need arise. If inappropriate content makes it through the peer review process, the process has mechanisms to support reactive takedown.

How many Xbox LIVE Indie Games members will be needed to approve a game?

We won't publicly disclose this number in order to maintain the security checks and balances already in place.

How do titles get filtered for potentially offending or copyright-infringing content?

The ability to distribute Xbox LIVE Indie Games is designed with a robust proactive and reactive screening process in mind. The core design is based on the community peer review process, in which a peer group of Xbox LIVE Indie Games members is empowered to be self policing. Each game submission must be played and validated by several members of the community and assessed against the service's Terms of Use (TOU). When reviewers identify unauthorized or inappropriate content in a game that doesn't comply with the policies, the game won't be listed on Xbox LIVE Marketplace until the submitter removes such content. Post publication on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, Microsoft will actively remove infringing content when properly notified by the copyright owner(s) and will remove inappropriate content when notified by the community.

Who can peer review Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

A member of the Xbox LIVE Indie Games whose membership is in good standing and is a legal adult (for the countries we currently serve, this means 18 years of age or older).

I'm a Microsoft employee. Can I peer review Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

No. Microsoft employees aren't permitted to act as peer reviewers of games submitted to Xbox LIVE Indie Games; this includes, but is not limited to, downloading game packages, viewing screenshots, and/or reading descriptions for any game before it is available to the public on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Contingent staff at Microsoft are subject to the same rules and restrictions around peer review and game submission as Microsoft employees.

Why does my game have to be peer-reviewed? Why can't I just send it to Xbox LIVE Marketplace?

Peer reviewers help developers write better games, and protect game players from experiencing highly offensive or malfunctioning games. Peer reviewers will reject your game if:

  • Your game contains prohibited content, which is content not allowed on Xbox LIVE services.
  • You misrepresent what is in the game play or in the promotional materials for the game. All games must have a trial mode that showcases the actual game experience. If you fail to do so, or use this method to provide your game for free, your game will be failed in the peer review process. At this time, games aren't available for free on the system. This system isn't a video hosting service and shouldn't be used as such.
  • The promotional content for your game ( for example, the box art, description, banner, or title) isn't appropriate for all ages on Xbox LIVE Marketplace
  • The game crashes, it has too many bugs, or it is technically defective in some way

What happens if somebody sneaks prohibited content into a game?

Microsoft reserves the right to take down a game without notice. Microsoft encourages peer reviewers to report objectionable content in a game. In addition, Microsoft will initiate punitive actions against developers who willfully submit games with misleading content indicators. Punitive actions could include the loss of subscriptions and the removal of the developer or developers from the site. Also, Microsoft will comply with all legal requests where required by law.

What happens if peer reviewers reject a game because they don't believe it's worth the specified number of Points?

We don't display the price of a game during Peer Review. Peer Review is not a review of the worth of a game.

How do I get started reviewing games?

Select a game in review from the games catalog where you speak the language listed for the game. If this is your first time, the Peer Review Agreement will pop up, and if you agree to it, you can continue to peer review games. The agreement will only show up once.

What are the rules for a game to be approved?

You need a certain number of peer reviews of average strength to pass a game. The number will vary based on the reviewers' individual peer reviewer scores.

Each reviewer must speak a language or languages associated with the game. The game's promotional materials must be reviewed in their respective languages as well, so if there is an English language game with a Spanish description, you'll need at least two Spanish-speaking reviewers to approve the game as well.

Do peer review standards vary per country?

No. Games are now evaluated for "one world" or worldwide approval.

What do you mean by "one world" approval?

Each game has to match the standards of all countries we support; the strictest standard will be applied for all countries. A game must pass all criteria before being allowed for sale in any Xbox LIVE Marketplace.

Is sending a game to playtest required for a game before sending it to peer review?

Though not required, it's good practice to share your game to playtest beforehand to ensure a smoother peer review process. It wastes the reviewers' time if you have crashing bugs that prevent them from finishing the review, and means you'll get a speedy rejection.

How does the peer review system know to present me a game for review?

Your developer profile indicates the languages you speak (your Xbox LIVE account's official language is checked by default in your profile, but you can add more to this list). These are the languages that are used to determine whether you can peer review a game, so only check languages in which you're proficient.

How do you know what language I reviewed the game in, if the game has more than one language associated with it and/or I speak more than one language?

You'll confirm at the end of the review which language(s) you played the game in/reviewed metadata in. This will help toward the game's overall peer review score and toward its eventual approval.

I want to submit a game for sale. What should I consider before taking the step to help it pass peer review?

You may want to consider these things:

  • You may want to review the list of prohibited content, available during the second step in the peer review process. The list reflects games that may be submitted to multiple markets; it needs to pass a worldwide bar.
  • The gameplay language and the language of the related metadata determine the people who will peer review your game. Be sure to go on the XNA forums and recruit peer reviewers who speak these language(s).
  • If your game doesn't get enough reviewers who speak its language, eventually your peer review for the game will expire and the game will be rejected. You should receive an email if your game is rejected due to expiration. The current setting for expiration is one month.

game pricing

What are the requirements for game pricing?

Depending on the size of the game, there are two sets of prices:

  • Games with binaries less than 150 MB in size can be 80, 240, or 400 points.
  • Games with binaries equal to or greater than 150 MB in size can be 240, or 400 points.

Can I change the price of my game?

Yes. You may change the price of your game once every 7 days.

Can developers publish free games?

There's no mechanism to distribute free games on Xbox LIVE Indie Games, but we're always exploring new methods of distribution.

How is the pricing different from the games on Xbox LIVE Arcade?

Indie Games developers can chose to sell their 150 MB games for 80 Microsoft Points, or sell their larger 500 MB games for either 240 or 400 Microsoft Points. Xbox LIVE Arcade games can be up to 350 MB and can sell for 400 to 1600 Microsoft Points.

What are My Tokens?

Xbox LIVE Marketplace Tokens are provided for each game as a tool to the developer to promote their game. Developers will receive 50 tokens upon their game passing Peer Review. Tokens are one-use each; please ensure you don't give out the same token twice.

So who can I give these tokens to?

Whoever you like - friends, family, your postman - it's up to you. It’s recommended that you use the tokens to help promote your game and send them to influential critics, members of the press, etc.

I’ve used all of my tokens, can I request additional ones?

There's no mechanism to request additional tokens.

Do you guys track which tokens have been used?

No. It's up to the developer to track which tokens they’ve handed out to individuals. Tokens are one-use each; please ensure you don't give out the same token more than once.

payments

How do I earn money with my game?

Royalties are calculated by taking the Microsoft Points value for the game and multiplying it by the number of units sold. A percentage split is applied to that base, and any promotional adjustments are made. At that point, the Points are converted to U.S. dollars.

Once a developer reaches the minimum payout limit, a currency conversion occurs to the developer’s local currency.

How often will I get paid?

Payments will occur once a quarter, as is standard for all of Microsoft's developers.

How are payouts made, in cash or in Microsoft Points?

All points generated by games are converted to U.S. dollars and then converted to the relevant national currency.

Will earnings from Indie Games be taxable?

Yes.

What percentage of the developer's revenue will be used for publicity efforts?

Microsoft currently doesn't charge a promotional fee for Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

What percentage of revenue do I receive?

Developers currently receive 70 percent of the total revenue from their game sales.

Can developers choose to opt out of being featured?

No. All developers agree to a common set of terms when they submit their game to the service.

I didn't publish my game in the United States. Can the points conversion occur in a currency other than USD?

No. Royalty calculations always convert to U.S. dollars. When the developer gets paid, the conversion to the developer's local currency occurs.

What countries do you support payouts to?

We only support payouts to the countries that developers can currently submit from.

I have a bank account in a different country. Can I be paid into that account?

No. We only support payouts to countries that developers can submit from.

What currencies do you support?

We support the following currencies:

Country Currency
United States USD
Canada CAD
United Kingdom GBP
France EUR
Spain EUR
Italy EUR
Sweden SEK
Norway NOK
Netherlands EUR
Denmark DKK
Ireland EUR
Singapore SGD
New Zealand NZD
Australia AUD
Japan JPY
Germany EUR

Can I get paid in a currency other than the currency for my country?

No. We only support paying out in the currency for the developer's country, as shown in the chart above.

How do I register to get paid?

On the Xbox LIVE Indie Games site there will be a link to fill in your Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This data includes your bank and tax details so you're able to be paid.

What are the deadlines for filling in my Personally Identifying Information (PII)?

PII needs to be filled in by the 15th of the month following the quarter end.

What information do I need prior to filling in my PII?

In order to get paid for your games that have been purchased on Xbox LIVE, you'll need to fill in your personal and tax information:

Tax Information

The following information can be entered:

  • First Name, of the person filling in the form (Required)
  • Last Name, of the person filling in the form (Required)
  • Country, where the entity is based (Required)
  • Account Type, Individual or Business (Required)
  • Company Name. If you selected Account type Business, then you need to provide a Company Name
  • Street Address. Where the Individual/Business resides (Required)
  • City (Required)
  • State/Province/Region (Required, but this may not show up, depending on your country)
  • Zip code/Postal Code (Required, but this may not show up, depending on your country)
  • Primary Telephone Number (Required)
  • Fax Number
  • Email Address (Required)
  • U.S Taxpayer Identification Number (May be required, see below)

You'll also need to gather the additional tax information depending on where you're based:

U.S.-based Developer

A U.S.-based developer is one who for federal tax purposes is considered a U.S. Person as described by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form W-9.

According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form W-9, the definition as of November 2008 is as follows:

Definition of a U.S. person. For federal tax purposes, you are considered a U.S. person if you are:

An individual who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien*,
A partnership, corporation, company, or association created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States,
An estate (other than a foreign estate), or
A domestic trust (as defined in Regulations section (301.7701-7).

[*You can find more information on the definition of a U.S. resident alien on page 3 of the Form W-8BEN Instructions.]

If you're a U.S. Person you'll require one of the following Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) in order to be paid:

Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Non-U.S. based Developer

Non-U.S. developers are those not considered a U.S. Person as per the W-9 definition. In order to get paid, you must submit the relevant Form W-8.

Developers who are residents of certain countries may be eligible for a reduction or exemption from U.S. income tax on their revenue. The list can be found in Publication 901 (see Table 1, Column 12 – Copyright Royalties, Other, and Footnotes). The publication was last updated April 2010.

IRS Publication 901 (All Countries) - http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p901.pdf

A Taxpayer Identification Number is not strictly required to get paid, although without it you will be subject to an automatic 30% U.S. tax withholding even if your country provides for a lower rate of U.S. taxation. If your country has a tax treaty with the U.S, you'll be able to take advantage of that providing you have a relevant Taxpayer Identification Number and submit a properly completed treaty claim on Form W-8.

In order to take advantage of any treaties between the U.S. and your country, you'll need one of the following Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs):

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security Number (SSN)
Employer Identification Number (EIN)

IRS Form W-7 may be used to apply for an ITIN. IRS Publication 1915, including the example on page 27, provides information on how to complete this form and file it directly with the IRS. You may need a letter from Microsoft confirming that you need a US TIN. Download the form.

The form is provided in PDF format in English only. The following information has to be entered to be considered a valid form:

Date. The date you print the form in MM/DD/YYYY format
To. The Developer’s physical name
Royalty recipient Account Number. The Developer name as registered on the Xbox LIVE Indie Games web site.

Microsoft doesn't provide tax advice. For more information, refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service website.

Bank Information

In order to get paid you need to provide Bank Account Information

Country Account Number Routing Number Swift Code/BIC IBAN
US Required ABA, Required N/A N/A
Canada Required Transit Number, Required Required N/A
Italy N/A N/A Required Required
Netherlands N/A N/A Required Required
Ireland N/A N/A Required Required
Germany N/A N/A Required Required
Spain N/A N/A Required Required
France N/A N/A Required Required
Sweden Required N/A Required Required
Norway Required N/A Required Required
Denmark Required N/A Required Required
UK Required Sort Code, Required Required Required
Australia Required BSB Code, Required Required N/A
New Zealand Required BSB Code, Required Required N/A
Singapore Required N/A Required N/A
Japan Required N/A Required N/A

The other Bank Account information that can be entered includes:

Account Holder Name (Required)
Bank Name (Required)
Branch Name
Street Address, of the bank
City
State/Province/Region
Zip code/Postal Code

My country has a tax treaty with the United States, but it may take several weeks for me to receive an ITIN from the IRS. Should I wait to complete my PII and send you my Form W-8?

It's your choice. You may wait or you may complete your PII details, accept the 30% withholding and mail your Form W-8 now (with no US TIN). If you do, after you receive your ITIN you can revise and resubmit an original Form W-8 with your U.S. TIN and a treaty claim properly completed.

I'm eligible for a treaty reduction or exclusion on my income, but I didn't obtain an ITIN and so withholding was deducted from my payments. Is there anything I can do to receive a refund of the US taxes paid?

It may be possible to receive a refund by filing Form W-7 with a completed tax return after the calendar year in which the withholding was deducted. See the instructions to Form W-7 and consult your tax advisor for more details.

If I submit a Form W-8 without a TIN, get paid, then submit a Form W-8 with a TIN can I get the refund back from Microsoft?

No. The withholding is paid to IRS and the only way to get a refund is from the IRS directly

What does the US withholding apply to?

For a non-US person the withholding, whether 30% or a treaty rate, will only apply to content sold within the US. Any content knowingly sold outside the US is not eligible for withholding.

I'm based outside of the United States. What are the tax implications?

Non-U.S. based persons will need to fill in the PII form and will also need to send the relevant W-8 form. Once the relevant W-8 form has been received and processed, they will be able to be paid. If required, you'll be mailed an IRS Form 1042-S annually. This form reports any taxable royalties you received and U.S. income tax withholding deducted from your payments.

If I'm a non-U.S. based person, which is the relevant W-8 form?

There are four types of W-8 forms available on the IRS website. While Microsoft doesn't provide tax advice, we can tell you that Form W-8BEN is the most frequently submitted form. Also, please note the following language on the top of Forms W-8EXP, W-8IMY and W-8ECI: "Do not use this form for: A beneficial owner solely claiming foreign status or treaty benefits. Instead, use Form W-8BEN."

If you have a TIN and are claiming a treaty benefit on your Form W-8, you may wish to refer to this IRS page, which has a link to all U.S. Double Taxation Income Tax Treaties where the relevant Article numbers can be found.

For further information, please contact a tax professional.

What’s the address I need to mail the W-8 form to?

The address is:
Microsoft
Attn: Finance Department
29011 Commerce Center Drive
Valencia, CA 91355
USA

I received an email stating that my SSN/TIN and name combination doesn’t match. What does this mean?

Every TIN is validated against an IRS service to confirm that the TIN is valid. The matching is done against the TIN and Name. If they don't match what’s in the IRS records, then it’s considered not valid and is rejected. Another possible reason for this to fail is that your TIN details haven't yet been entered into the IRS database.

But I entered my correct name and I still received the email...

You name must match exactly what the IRS has on record.

But if my TIN is not valid, I’ll still get paid, right?

If you’re TIN is not valid, you won't be paid. You must have a valid TIN.

When will I get paid?

Payments will occur up to 45 days after the quarter ends.

What happens if I haven't received a payment, when can I ask questions about the payment?

We don't support payment request questions until the last US business day of the month, which is two months after the quarter ends.

When are the dates of these quarters?

See the table below:

Quarter Last P2 change date "Where's My Payment" Requests
April - June 2009 7/15/09 - Wednesday 8/31/09 - Monday
July - September 2009 10/15/09 - Thursday 11/30/09 - Monday
October - December 2009 1/15/10 - Friday 2/26/09 - Friday
Jan-March 2010 4/15/10 - Thursday 5/31/10 - Monday
April - June 2010 7/15/10 - Thursday 8/31/10 - Tuesday
July - September 2010 10/15/10 - Friday 11/30/10 - Tuesday
October - December 2010 1/15/11 - Saturday 2/28/11 - Monday
Jan-March 2011 4/15/11 - Friday 5/31/11 - Monday
April - June 2011 7/15/11 - Friday 8/31/11 - Wednesday
July - September 2011 10/15/11 - Saturday 11/30/11 - Wednesday
October - December 2011 1/15/12 - Sunday 2/29/12 - Wednesday

Using the example of the quarter April-June 2009:

  1. The Quarter ends. The developer has earned royalties over the following last three months: April 2009, May 2009, and June 2009.
  2. The last date the user can change their PII is on the 15th of the month after the period ends. That would be July 15th, 2009.
  3. We only accept support requests of "Where is my payment" on the last US business day of the month that payments have been processed. That would be August 31st, 2009.

I need some tax advice. Does Microsoft provide such a service?

No. Please contact a tax professional.

I'm based in the United States. What are the tax implications?

U.S.-based persons must fill in a W-9 replacement form online by using the PII form. Once the form is filled in and the person's Tax Identifier Number (TIN) is confirmed as being valid, they'll be eligible to be paid.

I'm based outside of the United States. What are the tax implications?

Non-U.S. based persons will need to fill in the PII form and will also need to physically mail the relevant W-8 form. Once the relevant W-8 form has been received and processed, they'll be eligible to be paid.

If I'm a non-U.S. based person, which is the relevant W-8 form?

Microsoft doesn't provide tax advice. Please contact a tax professional.

If I mail the relevant W-8 form before the 15th of the month following the quarter end, can I still get paid?

No. The relevant W-8 form needs to be processed prior to any payments.

What happens if I don't fill in my PI/get the relevant W-8 form processed in time? Can I get paid at a later time?

Payments occur up to 45 days after the quarter end and occur, at the same time for all developers. We don't support payments outside of that time. If the PII comes in late, then the royalty is rolled over to the next quarter.

I plan to submit the game, but a number of us worked in the game. Who's liable for the tax?

You can submit as an individual or as a company. If you choose to submit as an individual, then you're liable for the tax.

What is the exact promotional fee going to be?

Microsoft currently doesn't charge a promotional fee for Xbox LIVE Indie Games. We reserve the right to change this at any time.

If a developer only makes $2.50 (in U.S. dollars) a quarter, will he still receive payment?

There's a minimum payout limit per quarter. If you don't reach this limit there will be no payout. The minimum payout limit will be $150 U.S. dollars.

I can only get payments directly to my bank account. What if I don't have a bank account?

You'll need to get a bank account in order to get paid.

game features and updates

Can I develop a multiplayer Xbox LIVE game and publish it via Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

Absolutely. XNA Game Studio contains multiplayer and matchmaking functionality for Xbox LIVE. This offering is capable of publishing any title developers can create by using the XNA Game Studio development tools.

Can I give out Achievements and Gamerscore in my Xbox LIVE Indie Games title?

No. Achievements are reserved for commercial games.

Can I incorporate avatars into my Xbox LIVE Indie Games title?

Yes. Developers can incorporate avatars into their Xbox LIVE Indie Games titles.

How often can I update my game?

You can submit an update to your game seven days after the previous game review ended.

When do consumers receive the updated version of my game?

After the updated version of your game has been approved, consumers who have downloaded previous versions will be prompted to download the new version when they launch the game. If they accept the update, then the updated game is added to the download queue and the old version is deleted.

regional information

In which regions are Xbox LIVE Indie Games available for purchase?

Consumers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Singapore, and Spain are able to download Xbox LIVE Indie Games for purchase. We are continually working to add additional regions.

Developers from which countries are able to sell their Xbox 360 games on Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

Xbox LIVE Indie Games members in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States can sell their games. We're continually working to add additional regions, but these are the only countries where Xbox LIVE Indie Games is currently enabled to pay their residents who submit games to Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

I am served by an Xbox LIVE Marketplace that doesn't yet have Indie Games purchasing enabled. Can I still playtest games? Can I still peer review games?

Yes. Developers from any country can help their fellow game developers by play testing or peer reviewing a game. The only requirement is that they speak the language of the game and/or its metadata.

If someone makes a game in Language A, can they sell that game to Region B where most people don't speak that language?

Our plan is to give developers the option to sell the game in multiple markets, regardless of the language that the marketplace supports. Peer reviewers must understand the language in order to effectively review the game, of course, and developers need to think hard about whether their game will sell effectively if their intended customer doesn't understand the language of the start menu, help, and so on.

Will there be a restriction about which region you must be located in, in order to be allowed to publish an Indie Game?

Yes. You need to be in one of the countries where we support developer payouts in order to be paid.

Will developer support be expanded to additional regions more quickly than the Indie Games service itself?

Possibly. The issues between developers and consumers are really very different, and from our perspective it's a little easier to enable regions with developer education content for developers markets than for the consumer purchase in marketplace. It's likely that developers will be able to have games submitted from additional countries before we're able to publish games into those same countries.

Why don't I see an Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership offeredto me?

If you don't see an offer for Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership, it could be that you live in a country that doesn't offer that service. The list of countries that the Xbox LIVE Indie Games is currently offered in is Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

It isn't currently available in India or the Republic of Korea.

Other countries not listed above are still being investigated for future inclusion into Xbox LIVE Indie Games.

rock band network

Can anyone create a new song for “Rock Band”?

Xbox LIVE Indie Games members can create new songs for “Rock Band Network”. To create a song, they’ll need to download the developer tools through Harmonix's Rock Band Network site, then follow the process to submit the song. Once it passes through the Harmonix process, it will be made available for consumers to download through “Rock Band” on Xbox LIVE.

Why did Harmonix choose to use the existing Xbox LIVE Indie Games as the avenue for developers to create “Rock Band Network” songs?

The Xbox LIVE Indie Games has been used by independent game developers to create and publish hundreds of games for the Xbox LIVE Indie Games channel. It’s a system that’s easy for developers to use and has been proven to work.

What changes had to be implemented to accommodate “Rock Band” songs as part of Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

We designed the Xbox LIVE Indie Games platform to be flexible; because of this, Harmonix was able to quickly and easily package the Xbox LIVE Indie Games publishing platform with its own music development tools for “Rock Band”. The Xbox LIVE Indie Games peer review process is also flexible; the infrastructure was already in place and we built it with more than just game content in mind.

How did you accommodate for bandwidth concerns, seeing that the number of content submitters could increase dramatically?

We built a scalable system that will be able to handle the bandwidth of newly developed songs, regardless of their size. Bandwidth has not been a problem for us – even with more than 400 games at an average of 100 MB each in the Indie Games channel, we haven't had any bandwidth issues.

How do you think this will expand the existing Xbox LIVE Indie Games community?

For those game developers who are interested in or who are already designing games, this is an opportunity to expand their own creativity into music. We believe it will also bring in many additional indie music enthusiasts that only focus on music. Overall, it’s a bonus that developers can design both games and songs with a single Xbox LIVE Indie Games membership, so we expect to see an increase.

Are you working with any other third parties on a similar initiative (aka competitors)?

We aren't discussing that at this time. We're always looking at opportunities to expand the content available to Xbox users.

What does this initiative mean to Microsoft / Xbox LIVE?

This initiative will introduce new content developers to Xbox LIVE Indie Games, bringing in new talent that will ensure that the best indie games and music will be available on Xbox LIVE. We're committed to supporting innovation and creativity for developers at every level, which makes Microsoft a great partner for innovative companies like Harmonix. Music is one of the most creative avenues for indie communities to express themselves, and ultimately make money.

other questions

How does the Xbox LIVE Indie Games service differ from Xbox LIVE Arcade?

Xbox LIVE Indie Games and Xbox LIVE Arcade are complementary to one another. Indie Games is an outlet for the masses to experiment and create the most innovative and  irreverent games imaginable on a console, while Xbox LIVE Arcade continues to consistently feature polished, casual arcade games.

The Xbox LIVE Indie Games platform is open to absolutely anyone who has a dream to create their own game and publish it for millions to play on Xbox 360. While Xbox LIVE Arcade remains a managed portfolio with a limited number of publishing slots, Xbox LIVE Indie Games doesn't undergo a certification process and isn't part of a managed portfolio. Xbox LIVE Indie Games is managed entirely by the community. We're pioneering the way for an entirely new segment of game developers, unlike any other next-gen games console.

Will the everyday Xbox 360 player be able to develop Indie Games for Xbox LIVE?

Absolutely. By using the XNA Game Studio software along with purchasing a membership to Xbox LIVE Indie Games, anyone with the desire and know-how can develop a game for Xbox LIVE. We designed the ability to offer Xbox LIVE Indie Games with the intent to open development up to the masses, but also to bring more choices and greater innovation to the everyday Xbox 360 player.

Once I publish my game to Xbox LIVE, how will the community find my game among hundreds or thousands of other games?

The Xbox LIVE Indie Games storefront is an easy-to-use addition to the existing marketplace on Xbox LIVE. Currently, consumers can view and rate Indie Games on Xbox.com, watch trailers, and even play a trial of each game before buying, as a simple way to discover fun and innovative titles.

What are the guarantees that Xbox LIVE Indie Games will not be “delisted”?

We currently have no plans to delist or remove any game successfully approved by the community and listed in our catalog. Inappropriate games can still get removed through our abuse reporting mechanisms.

Will delisted Xbox LIVE Arcade games have the option to move to Xbox LIVE Indie Games?

Those interested in doing so should initiate that conversation with their account manager.

 

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