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Software // Enterprise Applications

Microsoft Lets Xbox 360 Users Build And Share Games

At the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft said it hopes the effort will lead to an explosion in the number of titles available for its game console.

Xbox 360 fans who think they can make better games than what's available commercially now have a chance to prove it.

Microsoft on Wednesday said it's opening up the popular console to games created by gamers using the company's XNA Game Studio software. "The time has come for the games industry to open its doors to all game creators," said John Schappert, a VP in Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment unit, in a statement.

Under the plan, revealed at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, individual Xbox game creators can share the titles they've made with other gamers over Microsoft's online Xbox Live service, which boasts more than 10 million users.

"Our goal is to drive a creative and social revolution in games with the same transformative power that we've seen in digital music and video sharing," said Schappert.

Among the homespun games that Xbox users can already share is Little Gamers -- a 2-D, side-scrolling action game created by a 24-year-old Belgian software programmer. There's also a puzzle game called Trilinea that was built by a trio of Brazilian developers. And Rocket Ball, developed by a U.S. gamer, features a street version of dodge ball.

Microsoft is hoping that the effort will lead to an explosion in the number of titles available for the Xbox 360. The company said it expects that more than 1,000 games will be available for the console by the end of this year.

Microsoft is in a pitched battle with Sony and Nintendo for dominance of the video game console market. Microsoft sold 230,000 Xbox 360 units in January, while Nintendo sold 274,000 Wii consoles. Sony sold 251,000 PlayStation 3 units, according to market watcher NPD.

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