Microsoft to Open Up Xbox 360 Development

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As consoles have become more and more similar to full scale PCs, several important divides between the two types of platforms have remained. These include the differing approaches to game development on each, with closed development on consoles and open development on PC. Microsoft is looking to blur that distinction with XNA Game Studio Express. Announced on Sunday during a keynote at the company's Gamefest event in Seattle, XNA Game Studio Express is a free scaled down version of the cross-platform XNA game development environment. With a $99 yearly membership, users will be able to compile and run their games on actual Xbox 360 consoles.

"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," said Chris Satchell of Microsoft's Game Developer Group. "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." Though XNA Game Studio Express-created work will only be playable by those with the paid yearly membership, the tools should allow aspiring game creators to gain firsthand experience with development, and should make it easier for small teams to create prototypes with which to pitch full Xbox Live Arcade projects. Game development technology providers such as Autodesk and GarageGames have announced their intention to integrate their products with XNA. GarageGames will be releasing Torque X, an XNA version of its accessible Torque game engine.

Microsoft also announced that over 10 universities will be adding Xbox 360 development to their curriculums by way of XNA Game Studio Express. Traditionally, game development schools have focused almost exclusively on PC development, in part due to the generally high costs of console development kits. Microsoft no doubt hopes that this move will have long term effects on support for its current and future consoles, as college graduates holding degrees in game development disciplines will be more likely to already feel comfortable developing for Xbox platforms.

The Gamefest event continues through Tuesday. Microsoft will be presenting another keynote address on Monday morning.

From The Chatty
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    August 14, 2006 2:01 AM

    I wonder how long Sony will take to copy this and then claim MS always follows their lead?

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      August 14, 2006 2:14 AM

      Sony aready did something like this with releasing Linux for PS2 and prior to that a simplified dev kit for the original PlayStation. It wasn't supported to the same extent this probably will be though.

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        August 14, 2006 2:19 AM

        They never released a dev kit for the psx proper as far as I knew, but they did release the Net Yaroze, which was basically a psx for developing simple games on.

        http://www.playstationmuseum.com/DTL/DTL-H3001.htm

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        August 14, 2006 4:33 PM

        Yes, but there was no way to distribute your game to other PS owners.

        Additionally, the linux kit was a joke. You could get stuff like nethack to run, but you got no access to the VPUs and so it was no more powerful than a piece of mud.

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      August 14, 2006 2:18 AM

      didnt ps3 announce it would come with linux installed on the base and people could make games for it or something? Im not sure so I could easily be wrong, ill go look for a link

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        August 14, 2006 4:28 AM

        THey said it could run operating systems like Linux and Mac OSX, but not that it would be sold with them. Just more hype.

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          August 14, 2006 7:10 AM

          Well they seem to be doing something for basic develpoment with Linux and the main OS might be Linux based (they've not really made that clear). IBM have certainly done a lot of work with Linux and Cell but yeah the Mac OS thing was them basically saying that it could run it if Apple was interested in porting it (and they wont be so long as they're more concerned with selling their own hardware).

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      August 14, 2006 4:28 AM

      Well, Sony had Net Yaroze for PS1. The demo scene, among others, used it to some extent.

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        August 14, 2006 5:24 AM

        yeah, I'm actually sort of sad I missed out on that so I may just haul off and get this when it comes out :)

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      August 14, 2006 12:18 PM

      Ehmm Sony did this 10 years ago, try harder please..

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        August 14, 2006 1:35 PM

        yeah, no where near this scale, though.

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          August 14, 2006 2:17 PM

          even though Sony announced something similar to this for the PS3 in the GDC/E3, I wonder if people will still call sony a copycat. Its not like they can do it before Microsoft when their system is coming out later you know.

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        August 14, 2006 2:55 PM

        really? link?

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