Rich Inman plays video games and occasionally thinks about developing them for the PC as a hobby. But as a college kid learning programming, he wouldn't have to give it a second thought, says the 36-year-old biotech engineer at Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories in Mattapan, Mass.

Inman is the gamer Microsoft wants to attract. The Redmond, Wash. software maker Monday began to lay out plans that could eventually see a trading and a sales platform geared toward independent game developers and students similar to YouTube, which has become a popular Web site for sharing user-generated video clips.