With the announcement of XNA 2.0, Microsoft is hinting that they will, eventually, in some form, open the 360 to allow developers to distribute their XNA games. (Currently you can only share developments with other subscribers to the creator’s club, so it’s pretty dead as a platform.)
Notice how weighted his words are… Hint, hint, but not saying anything definite. (So we can try to divine the intentions while also waiting for Nintendo to deliver on their Wiiware promises.)
Finally, Satchell said that next year Microsoft will announce full details on, and its vision for, opening XNA creations to the community. “Think of it as publishing channel for the community,” saying when launched it will create “a revolution for the industry.”
Satchell referred to development of XNA as coming in three tiers — first with the initial release of the package and the Creators Club, now opening up Live networking, and finally providing the publishing channel. “Nobody’s done it,” he said, “we’re really opening up the console.”
Asked just how much Microsoft would be managing the service, or if it would be opening it up entirely as a true YouTube, Satchell said full details would have to wait until the new year, but offered, “We want it to be open so people can participate in it, and we want to stay true to principle of owning your own IP. There’s going to be some innovations in what we do that bridge the gap between fully free for all and completely managed portfolio.”
He similarly said no announcements could yet be made on whether the service would allow players to freely download community creations, or whether it would continue the Creators Club scheme it currently employs.
But again, what is holding them back? As long as the platform holders get a slice of any income, why not let developers be free to publish whatever they want?
Is it video game exceptionalism – that no platform holder want seedy, bad, controversial content on their platform for fear that it might hurt it? (Even though seedy, bad, controversial content works great for the sales of books, CDs, and DVDs.)