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Between not being sure how to phrase my question for Google and not being a lawyer, I thought it might be easier to ask you guys. Specifically, I want to know if it's OK to sell an Xbox Live indie game while simultaneously distributing the source code and other assets via GitHub or something.

Edit: The Communist Duck asked "why not?" One reason I can think of is that Microsoft has a small stake in a game's sales. They are hosting the demo/full game, they might be dedicating an advertising slot to the game in their "latest" section, etc. It's true they get a cut of each sale, but they get nothing if everyone just goes and downloads the free version.

Anyway, it's not a matter of what is reasonable and logical, it's a matter of what the terms and conditions allow. I'm going to read through them regardless, but I was hoping someone already knew.

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"but they get nothing if everyone just goes and downloads the free version." - I think games like Angry Birds have shown us that's not true. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Apr 17 '11 at 20:21
    
I'm not sure about the exact terms, but to improve your chances, don't distribute the assets. In other words, give away the source code but not all the assets which really 'make up your game'. –  DMan Apr 17 '11 at 20:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The only part of the FAQ I could see that came close to answering this is here. It states:

Who owns the IP rights to the game I create? Can I distribute my game on non-Microsoft services? You own the complete IP rights to your game, and you're free to distribute through any service of your choosing. However, we may provide incentives for exclusive distribution through Microsoft services.

Looking through the App Hub community forums it seems others have asked the same question and consensus seems to be it won't be a problem. For example, one person is already giving away the code for their game here.

As others have said, if you're still not sure on reading all of this then stay on the side of caution or consult a lawyer.

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Sounds pretty conclusive to me. That's good news. –  Metaphile Apr 18 '11 at 14:41

I'm not a lawyer, but why not? It's your code. Generally the reason people don't distribute commercial source code is because they lose profit.

Unless there's some weird part of Microsoft's licensing. I would have a look at their terms and conditions on this. I put this in bold because there could be some esoteric condition; see Joe Wreschnig's comment below.

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I replied to your answer in my original question because I figure other people will have similar thoughts. –  Metaphile Apr 17 '11 at 19:23
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I thought of that, but it seems like it could be a moot point. Like I said, you may want to check the small print for any mention of what you can and can't do with the source code. –  The Communist Duck Apr 17 '11 at 19:29
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As an example, Amazon's new (horrible) App Store terms can be easily interpreted as banning you from selling on their store if your program is available from GitHub. –  user744 Apr 17 '11 at 20:21

If it's an IP(intellectual property) submitted on XBox Live it has to conform to the rules of submission, when you agree to a contract online to submit a game you are accepting and abiding by the bindings of that contract. If you change the terms of the contract after the fact, your basically violating the contract.

You can resolve this issue by:

  1. not submitting the game to XBox Live.
  2. writing a "similar" game ( in a language other than C#) and posting it on a site with no affiliations to XBox Live
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This doesn't really answer the question. –  doppelgreener Apr 18 '11 at 12:35

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