Microsoft announces the YouTube of video games

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During their GDC’08 keynote address, Microsoft dropped the news bomb that they will soon allow gamers to freely download, rate and distribute community-created games through Xbox LIVE. A move with which they’re hoping to significantly increase the number of games available on the 360, and make their library the most creatively diverse one.

Microsoft’s goal is to have more than 1000 games available for the 360 by the end of the year, which doesn’t mean they’re going to allow just anything to be uploaded to the system though. A strict selection process will be in place, filtering out the ‘less-than-stellar’ attempts.

LIVE’s corporate vice president John Schappert says the time is ripe for the industry to open its doors to all who want to create games and share them with the world. “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,” he adds.

Microsoft has already put up the first games to give us a little taste of the potential of community-created games. To play them, you’ll need the XNA Creators Club Game Launcher, which is a tiny 7MB download available on Marketplace now, for free. Once you have it downloaded, head over to your Games Library in the Games area of the dashboard, and then select My Games. Then select XNA Creators Club and press Y to see and download the games. There are currently 7 games available. For details and screens of each, continue reading.

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Little Gamers. This is a 2-D high definition action side-scroller based on the famous Web comic “Little Gamers” created by Loïc Dansart, a 24-year-old software developer from Belgium.

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The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. An intense 2-D action platform game created by James Silva from the United States, “The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai” has a unique, highly stylized look and fast and fluid action.

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TriLinea. This puzzle game created by Edison S. Prata Jr., Renato Pelizzari da Silva and Davi da Silva Prata from Brazil mixes fast-paced action with strategy.

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RocketBall. Created by Tyler Wanlass, Patrick Murty and Todd Barrons of the United States, this neighborhood game of dodgeball explodes onto the street with fast-paced multiplayer action.

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ProximityHD. This game, created by Brian Cable from the United States, takes the essence of strategy games — battles for control of territory and armies — and distills it down to a simple, easy-to-understand set of rules for casual players.

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JellyCar. Created by Walaber from the United States, this game is about driving a squishy car through squishy worlds, trying to reach the exit.

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Culture. Created by independent game development company Hidden Path Entertainment from the United States, “Culture” contains challenging games and puzzles based on beautiful flowers.

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