Microsoft late last week announced that it will allow individual developers to market and sell their own games for the Xbox 360. As with a similar program Apple created for its iPhone, Microsoft will provide free access to its Xbox Live Marketplace online store for the wares and allow developers to keep most of the profits from any games they sell.

To participate in the program, developers must join the XNA Creators Club, which costs $99 a year. Developers will submit games to Microsoft for review and approved titles can be sold for approximately $2.50 to $10 each. Developers typically keep 70 percent of all profits, with Microsoft retaining 30 percent. However, if Microsoft prominently features a particular title on its Xbox Live Marketplace, their cut will be slightly higher.

Microsoft had previously announced that it would open up the Xbox 360 to individual developers, but only revealed the timing and details of the deal this past week. According to the software giant, the first independently-developed Xbox 360 game titles should become available in time for the 2008 holiday season. Microsoft expects to see over 1000 games available for the 360--this figure includes retail game titles, downloadable Xbox Live Arcade games, as well as games made by independent developers--by the end of 2008.

Developers interested in Microsoft's XNA and XNA Creators Club programs should visit the XNA and XNA Creators Club Web sites, respectively.