xbox_live_arcade_logo.jpg[UPDATE: Official Microsoft response in the extended news story.]

Over at Jason Hill's latest Screen Play column at the WA Today website, he brings word from local Australian independent developers trying to get their games on Xbox Live Arcade, who claim that they are having difficulties getting accepted for the main XBLA service.

It was only a month ago that Microsoft announced they were changing the name of Xbox Live Community Games to Indie Games instead, and some people commented that this could potentially be Microsoft's way of separating independent titles from the more mainstream XBLA downloads.

Jason Hill writes:

"Screen Play has been told there are now just 35 "slots" a year for independent games on Xbox Live Arcade, but local developers estimate there would be hundreds of titles in development around the world, so many frustrated independent studios will be unable to release their games on the popular service."

To be clear, Xbox Live Indie Games (formerly Community Games) will continue to be extremely accessible to amateur developers. but it does make you wonder what plans Microsoft have for the coming months. Will the name change spell a further separation of 'DIY' Xbox Live Indie Games releases from more carefully selected 'main' Xbox Live Arcade titles, or is this just down-on-their-luck indie developers having a good old moan?

[UPDATE: We asked Microsoft directly how games are accepted for Xbox Live Arcade vs. Xbox Live Indie Games nowadays, and whether there are there particular limits in numbers for certain styles of game to be accepted for 'main' XBLA release yearly, and here's the company's official reply - please make of this what you will re: answering the question:

"Xbox LIVE is a great supporter of independent game development. Xbox LIVE Arcade is home to some of the best games to come out of the IGF including "N+," "Braid" and "Castle Crashers." Our biggest annual program, Summer of Arcade, includes "Splosion Man" from the Twisted Pixel studio and we're releasing "Mad Balls in Babo: Invasion" this week."

"In addition to our support of indie games on Xbox LIVE Arcade, we've also drastically reduced the barriers for developers to distribute a game on Xbox 360 through Xbox LIVE Indie Games, and we've made development easier with XNA Game Studio. The result is that more and more independent developers are distributing their games to the Xbox LIVE community. There are currently hundreds of games available on Xbox LIVE Indie Games with more coming every week."]