XNA gives Xbox to all
Microsoft reckon they're going to 'democratise' the Xbox 360 this week, with the announcement of the XNA Game Development Express platform. The new development platform will remove the need for big budget professional game development with big teams, enabling students, amateurs, indie developers and more to create games for the console. "Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development" will be free for all users of Windows XP, and Redmond are clearly hoping the Xbox 360 can become a hotbed of creativity and the first choice for those creating smaller, more innovative titles, that break from the traditional mould.
Microsoft reckon the new platform will empower even the smallest of developers, "to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry." A Creators' Club subscription fee of 99 USD per year will help Microsoft continue supporting the platform, we're told.
We're told that game makers won't be able to profit from their XNA creations, though Microsoft will apparently cherry pick the best titles for the Xbox Live Arcade and the like - so there's certainly an incentive there for those looking to make a splash. GarageGames and various other partners will provide toolsets to be included in the pack, and a beta version will launch at the end of the month.
"By unlocking retail Xbox 360 consoles for community-created games, we are ushering in a new era of cross-platform games based on the XNA platform," beamed Microsoft's Chris Satchell. "We are looking forward to the day when all the resulting talent-sharing and creativity transforms into a thriving community of user-created games on Xbox 360."
The full version of the platform should be ready for spring 2007. We'll keep you posted.