Feeds

MS to offer Xbox 360 programming tool for amateurs

Starting up a shareware community?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.