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Microsoft ships XNA coding kit for amateur game developers

Davedough @ Dec 12, 2006 10:46 | 21 comments

Software giant, Microsoft has officially released it's project XNA Game Studio Express for developmental purposes on the Xbox 360 console. Their hope is to find budding, undiscovered talent in amateur game developers that can produce homebrew games for the Xbox 360. Originally announced back in August, the product has become live and is free for download.

While free sounds great, you'd do little with the source code as you can't publish it anywhere without subscribing to the $99 yearly subscription fee that grants you access to sample code and the ability to upload your projects. Microsoft hopes that new developers will turn to this service for help with white papers and game assets put up not only by Microsoft themselves but also third-party developers. Additionally, it appears that in order to allow your project to be consumed by the masses, you'll also need to partake in their $49 four month subscription that allows your finished games to be downloaded via Xbox Live.

XNA Game Studio Express will function on any PC running Windows XP and uses the coding standards for Visual C# 2005 Express Edition and Microsoft.s .NET Compact Framework.

Microsoft states that downloaders will need to have an Xbox fitted with a hard drive and hints that potential downloaders may also need to subscribe to the XNA Creators Club. Reason being is the downloads will require compiling of source code in an Xbox 360 format. They stress that the intent is for non-commercial means, however the XNA project can be used to produce commercially available Windows content. Additionally, they warned that these XNA created games will not be able to be transferred via memory card, CD or DVD at this time.


The Register

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Comment by: tabletpc (Dec 12, 2006 16:59)

this is unfair no gamer has 99.00 a year and 49.00 a month to spend on this and i thought this was going to be free what a bunch of garbage

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 12, 2006 17:08)

completely fail to get it once again....however this is do good for groups of gamers that can pull thier money together and help each other code but for indavenal gamers....meh

Comment by: MrMexican (Dec 12, 2006 17:24)

this is why i like the psp you can make homebrew apps,games and more for the price of a psp (1.50)

Comment by: limelight (Dec 12, 2006 18:44)

The pricing is a great idea!! This will help keep xbox live from being overcrowded with too many games; plus it will encourage people to make their games as good as possible, so that they can earn a return from the investment and then turn a profit.

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 12, 2006 19:04)


I dont think any content you make for XNA is "yours" MS is renting you tools and asstance to make games for "them".

Comment by: Pixie67 (Dec 13, 2006 11:22)

Creating a game this way for the 360 is less about making money and more about making a name for yourself. They are not going to undercut the $20,000 developers spend for developer kits.

If you want to make money, just make the game for the PC. That's completely free.

Comment by: akaangus (Dec 16, 2006 19:15)

I can't see anyone really going for this. $250 a year for the 'opportunity' to program for the 360? Let's just work on getting Linux to run on the box and then program for that! What really good games run on Visual C or .NET, and why can't they just run on Windows? Just go buy that USB 360 controller and use TV-out if you really feel the need to help out MS.

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 01:41)

Well I'm part of a group of people who are 'going for this" and I know I'm not alone. MS have actually followed through and what they promised - Windows XNA 4 Games free XBOX 360 XNA 4 Games at cheap cost.

This is actually cheap compared to other corporate supported homebrew solutions for consoles, such as Sony's Yaruze which actually made you pay for a whole other PSX console which only played homebrewed Yaruze apps/games....

Hail to MS for actually supporting the homebrew community and learning from their mistakes with the original XBOX scene (the majority of which illegally used the original XBOX SDK to develop countless amazing homebrewed apps including the now famous XBMC)!

All 360 haters can now exit stage left.... LOL

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 01:42)

Sorry for the double post but I felt I had to add that some of those who are very keen on this are some of the biggest contributors to the original XBOX need to namedrop.

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 17, 2006 03:18)


all in all its ok,they should have made better "poor" gamer options but as it is they need a larger better community before they can make "free" or cheap offerings.

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 09:27)

Ha! No modern console appeals to the poor gamer anymore. Even the Wii's games and accessories put it out of that market. Handhelds are for the poorer children.

Gotta love market separation.

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 17, 2006 09:36)

DR34MERThats not what I meant,the "poor" gamer has 200-500 a year to spend on gaming,and this leaves alot of people out of the loop,leaving only rich people or dedicated coders to fool with it.

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 09:50)

Windows gamers get to play with it for free and to release compiled product for free. Considering that it requires a Windows OS to use XNA, MS aren't really being that unfair to those who wish to take a serious console SDK for a spin.

There simly isn't any other competing console that allows and offers a similar homebrew option.

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 17, 2006 09:57)


and theres no large community to assist with the coding more reason to make it more premium,but I wodner if MS will assist you any you are paying them for the crap *L*

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 10:09)

Zippy, I beg to differ. As does XBOX-SCENE (and the XBOX "scene" in general). Not to mention the millions of Windows gamers....


Comment by: ZippyDSM (Dec 17, 2006 10:15)


Mmmmm I guess there is enough of a scene for MS to make money off of by doing this...hell they might even relax the anti copying/modding stuff since they are getting a flow of money from people who want to code....naw LOL

50 a year is not so bad but the 100 over the the price of the start up is just to high for any normal gamer.

Comment by: DR34MER (Dec 17, 2006 10:20)

Yeah but the normal gamer is lacking the man hour resources to make a decent 3D game on their lonesome. This is built to appeal to groups, which is exactly what said scene is made of...

Comment by: fresco737 (Dec 18, 2006 00:45)

lol dooomaaaas' "no gamer has 99 a yr & 49 3 times a yr but you had the $$$ to shell out for the games you play & the unit itself IF YOUR JUST A GAMER, PROGRAMMING ISN'T YOUR THING, don't buy it, just get cheese for that wine u got

Comment by: Azrael1 (Jan 02, 2007 14:51)

Ya know its because of idiots like you that Microsoft can actually put crap out like this and charge for it!!! If you guys want the price of consoles and games to drop and not keep rising...Then do something about it instead of falling into mr gates' moneytrap!!!! You idiots are making him as rich as possible...I built a sick computer Pirated windows and i pirate every new game that comes out...And i know i'll be flamed for saying PIRATE but if shit wasn't sooooooo expensive we wouldn't haveto steal it...If you want send this directly to microsoft, sony, nintendo, and all those developers who are chargeing 60 bucks for a game you will beat in 6 hrs...Or the guys at blizzard who charge you 50 bucks for WoW and then have the balls to tell you that you dont own the game you bought a useless disk unless you want to continue to pay 15 a month to even be able to log in...These are the same guys who say that 15 a mo fee is for server upkeep...Well i am a server admin and i can tell you that 7 million ppl each paying 15 a mo isnt server upkeep its totally LEGAL Piracy that is why the pirate community and hackers/crackers exist...Cuz noone thinks photoshop cs2 is worth 800 USD...All in all if the game industry doesn't change there ways they will lose this war trust me...

Comment by: johnblaze (Jan 02, 2007 17:21)

This is geared for programmers, not your average gamer. Chances are if you have the proper programming skills to write a game, you already have a decent paying job and can easily afford this, the only exception is college and high school kids but this isn't an outrageous price for them either.

Comment by: ZippyDSM (Jan 02, 2007 21:33)

you both have a point

I'll add if sheeple stiff eat up the poo the corperations sale then things will never change.

Sony has declared war on importers the consumer will be next with CD's,Videos/Games not far behind that....boycott SONY!


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