Microsoft is officially shutting down the XNA Creator's Club and Xbox Live Indie Games and will stop selling all XBLIG games and close the store on September 2017.
"Today we communicated to developers that we're beginning the sunsetting process for the XNA Creator's Club and Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) on Xbox 360," said a forum post from Microsoft's Chris Charla and Andy Dunn.
"XNA and XBLIG were our first attempts to open up the closed console world - to let students, hobbyists, and anyone with a great idea make games and publish them without needing a studio or even a business license. Over the last nine years, we have seen many great developers get their start in XBLIG and we are very proud of all that has been accomplished."
As part of the sunsetting process No new subscriptions or membership renewals will be accepted going forward and no new games will be published after September 9, 2016. In September 2017, sales of all XBLIG games will end as the store closes. At this points all monies owed to developers will be paid. Microsoft suggested it had plans to "preserve the legacy" of the XBLIG content but didn't offer any details.
The post was also understandably keen to point out that ID@Xbox is the "spiritual successor" of XBLIG and developers could open Windows Developer accounts and make games using Unity, GameMaker, and Unreal Engine.
"All creators with a valid subscription as of today will receive a free lifetime Windows Developer account (normally $99)."
Developer Andy Dunn of ZBuffer and Exato Game Studios also offered his thoughts of the end of an indie development era.
"I've worked with lots of people besides Microsoft using XNA; and since then, I've had the opportunity to speak at conferences, teach at universities, make games and meet some (hopefully) lifelong friends. And tens of thousands of others had the same opportunities. Careers have been founded, millions have been made and in at least one case, a marriage occurred! The XNA/XBLIG community is easily the best set of people I've had the pleasure to be on the internet with. The forums were full of Microsoft employees and knowledgeable experts mixing with total n00bs wanting to write their own MMO. I know the mods were not always popular but we made sure they were a great place for almost everyone.
"We've known the end was coming for a while, and thankfully two years notice is plenty of time for those still in progress."