Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, August 14, 2006

Microsoft Wins...

Gamasutra broke news this morning which will have a huge impact on the future of the gaming industry. Microsofts opening up or "democratizing" move to allow indie and hobbiests to create games for the Xbox 360 is going to have a ripple effect. The console world has been closed for so long, that I really have no idea what this will do. They've made it clear that they still control what makes it to normal 360 end users, but this is a whole new ball game.

I'll make a prediction that whatever API they've released will be opened up within a year (OpenXNA anyone?) providing the opportunity for hobbiests on other OSes to develop games. This could also have a dramatic affect on Open Source game initiatives. Tools can be developed and their source code distributed this way.

The fact that schools have jumped on the bandwagon is no surprise, though it's interesting to see who was briefed on this earlier, so that they would be prepared to have "classes offered" in time for this annoucement is interesting. Game programs have been thirsting for the ability to teach their students how to develop for the console, but have lacked the ability because of the closed nature of console systems.

This is huge news. Nintendo may have started a revolution with the Wii, but Microsoft has taken it to the next level. This is truly a revolution that goes beyond controls.

Gamasutra - BREAKING: Microsoft To Enable User-Created Xbox 360 Games
The details of the new tech are as follows: XNA Game Studio Express will be available for free to anyone with a Windows XP-based PC, and will provide them with what's described as "Microsoft's next-generation platform for game development." In addition, by joining a "creators club" for an annual subscription fee of $99, users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360, as well as access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress.

In an official statement related to this major announcement, Microsoft suggested that the new product "...will democratize game development by delivering the necessary tools to hobbyists, students, indie developers and studios alike to help them bring their creative game ideas to life while nurturing game development talent, collaboration and sharing that will benefit the entire industry."
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Microsoft has enlisted the help of several partners for this major announcement - indie publisher/developer GarageGames, technology provider and creator of Marble Blast Ultra, has migrated both its Torque Shader Engine and new Torque Game Builder 2-D visual game designer over to the XNA Game Studio Express platform, and Autodesk announced that game developers and enthusiasts can now more easily incorporate content into XNA Game Studio Express via Autodesk's FBX file exchange format.

In addition, more than 10 universities and their game development schools — including University of Southern California, Georgia Tech College of Computing and Southern Methodist University Guildhall — have already pledged to integrate console game development and XNA Game Studio Express into their curricula for the first time, and Xbox 360 will be the only console at the center of all coursework.
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Microsoft's general manager of the Game Developer Group, Chris Satchell, commented on this major announcement: "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. 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."

1 Comments:

  • Hi Casey,

    I'm doing some research on people management in the UK Creative Industries, and Erin at Gamewatch.org suggested I contact you. My research page is http://www.wishfulthinking.co.uk/research

    It looks as though we have a common interest in people issues in the Creative Industries, and have a question to ask you, so would be grateful if you would get in touch - my e-mail contact is on my blog.

    Mark McGuinness

    By Blogger Mark McGuinness, at 8/17/2006 04:44:00 AM  

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