Feeds

MS to offer Xbox 360 programming tool for amateurs

Starting up a shareware community?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft today pledged to bring Xbox 360 programming to the masses, but ordinary folk will have to wait until the end of this month to get their hands on the tools they'll need to get coding for the console. Professionals will get a version in Spring 2007, the software giant said.

Microsoft will ship a pre-release beta version of XNA Game Studio Express on 30 August. The software will be be free, and runs on Windows XP. There's a catch: to test code on an Xbox 360, users will have to cough up $99 a year to join Microsoft's XNA users group, an online forum that will provide documentation and a game-sharing facility to allow other users to test unfinished titles. The software can also be used to create Windows XP games, Microsoft said.

Of course, XBA Game Studio simply allows game creators to program code and then build in audio and visual content into a final, playable game. Developers will still need a range of other, third-party tools and, in some cases, middleware.

The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be available this coming Christmas, with the pro-oriented version following three or four months down the line from that.

To date, console development has largely been closed to individuals and smaller software developers, largely because of the cost of acquiring console vendors' software development kits. The difficulties of CD-only distribution - let alone cartridge production - have also hindered amateur console game creation. Connected consoles finally allow a route for small-scale developers to offer their work.

While XNA Games Studio Express may not generate many top-tier games, it will make possible a variety of lesser titles of the kind computer users are well used to downloading as freeware or shareware.

Indeed, it's this kind of arena Microsoft is undoubtedly hoping to establish, the better to attract games to its console family and associated online services. There are plenty of folk out there put off buying a console because of the cost of commercial games. The presence of a range of more basic, but cheaper titles might just be what's needed to encourage them to start console gaming. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.