Microsoft is well aware there’s a small army of talented developers out there vying to create the next best-selling video game. In light of this, it has removed all barriers to game development and more importantly to game publishing with its XNA platform, allowing anyone to create games for the Xbox and Windows platforms.

The company released its free XNA toolkit for creating games two years ago, but the games developed using it could not be shared. Now, however, the company is expanding its offering to allow the best community-created games to be uploaded to and distributed from Xbox Live, and is making the first seven titles available straight away – beating Nintendo’s Wii Ware to the punch.

Essentially, just about any community-created game would be eligible to be included in Xbox Live, provided a review process carried out by other developers confirms that it does not contain any prohibited material. The game will then be uploaded to Xbox Live Arcade and placed alongside other Xbox games that can be bought and downloaded.

In a related announcement, Microsoft revealed that the Zune will evolve into a mobile gaming platform as XNA games will also be available for the portable music player featuring wireless multiplayer support.