Amid the recent outpouring of unsubstantiated rumours about Microsoft's next gen games strategy comes one piece of solid, factual news: the company will merge Xbox Live Indie into the general entertainment section once Xbox One hits shelves, having formally retired the XNA development language a month or two back.
Microsoft insists that it will continue to support independently made (or at least, "indie-styled") games on Xbox One, despite the lack of a dedicated channel. New curation policies and trending systems will ensure that smaller titles don't drop off radar, we're told, and the manufacturer has already enlisted two talented smaller outfits - Press Play and Twisted Pixel - to the cause: under a new "microstudio" approach, these teams are more or less left to their own devices, with very little meddling from Redmond.
We're sad to see XBLIG go all the same, but in fairness the platform was never entirely successful, thanks to technical restrictions, a shortage of promotion and the vagaries of crowd-sourced certification. Nevertheless, it has produced a few classics. Here are 14 of the best, followed by a short, ignoble list of the stinkiest release trends. Read more about Microsoft's $1 billion plans for Xbox One games in general here.
1. I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES!!!1
Developer: James Silva
Price: 80MP (£0.65)
One of XBLIG's breakout hits, this psychedelic twin-stick shooter is much better than the name implies. A quickfire gulp of gore and colour soundtracked by the shrieking vocals of its very own designer, this was an early poster child for the exact kind of experience you couldn't find anywhere but on XBLIG.
2. Escape Goat
Price: 80MP (£0.65)
Get past the awful pun in the title and there's an intelligent platform game here, using block pushing and switch manipulation to collect sheep and escape meticulously structured levels. Flawless controls make this a pleasure, while the 8-bit graphics pack in plenty of charm.