Microsoft XNA to be retired, casting doubt on Xbox Live Indie Games

The XNA runtime environment is being retired by Microsoft, the company has revealed.

12

The XNA runtime environment is being retired by Microsoft, the company has revealed. The goal of XNA was to enable easier development of games on Microsoft platforms, such as Xbox 360 and PC. XNA Game Studio helped aspiring indie developers release games via the Xbox Live Indie Games channel.

"XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," a Microsoft representative told Polygon. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product." The program will be retired on April 1st, 2014.

Some noteworthy games to utilize XNA are Fez and Skulls of the Shogun. However, the discontinuation of XNA suggests that Microsoft may be disinterested in renewing its indie games program for the next-generation Xbox. "No-one wants to learn a dying technology, and a big part of XNA's appeal was the prospect of selling a game on Xbox LIVE, even if that wasn't the most commercially-sensible thing to do," a source told CVG. "If there are no advocates of the technology, and we infer from the lack of internal support in Microsoft that there will be no XBLIG on the next-gen machine, there is no-one to drive XNA adoption and no incentive to learn it."

Microsoft has been oft criticized for its lackluster support of the indie service, with few games able to make any significant amount of money. Given its sluggish performance across multiple metrics, the decision to abandon XNA isn't entirely surprising.

It appears the future of game development on Microsoft platforms will be exclusively on DirectX. Speaking to Polygon, a Microsoft rep said that "Microsoft is actively investing in DirectX as the unified graphics foundation for all of our platforms, including Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone."

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 1, 2013 3:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Microsoft XNA to be retired, casting doubt on Xbox Live Indie Games.

    The XNA runtime environment is being retired by Microsoft, the company has revealed.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 3:42 PM

      Looks like someone didn't read the follow-up: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-false-alarm-we-arent-backing-away-from-directx-7000010647/

      • reply
        February 1, 2013 3:45 PM

        Looks like someone didn't read the article? It's talking about XNA, not DirectX - in fact, the last paragraph states that MS still is behind DirectX.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 3:47 PM

          Yeah the retirement of XNA has been suspected for a while now - the controversy addressed by that ZDNet article was about the confusion that DirectX would be retired as well.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 3:49 PM

          Yeah, my bad, I misunderstood.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 5:41 PM

          There are number of tech sites that got this story wrong. A good number of them were reporting that both XNA and DirectX was being phased out because of a email from some high up at Microsoft to the MVPs. DirectX isn't going anywhere but XNA will probably be replaced by something using the new runtime WinRT to target all the devices instead of just PC/phone/console.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 4:03 PM

      Still with MonoGame you can convert your project into OpenGl or DirectX so XNA will live on just only in DX9.c nothing more which is ok, not ideal but still ok.

      I think this is misleading XNA 4.0 will live forever it is just never going to see version 5.0 and DX11 stuff, is that not the real message here?

      I seriously doubt they will pull XNA 4.0 the redistributablse and remove all the visual studio templates and issue an update that will not allow XNA games to run on windows(like I said you can convert it to DX anyways, XNA is a C# wrapper for DX btw).

      Like the article said there are already successful games released on XBOX Arcade and the PC that are written in XNA this will have to support XNA 4.0 pretty mush always as in it will run and they will issue the redistributable.

      Have I misunderstood stood --> XNA runtime environment is being retired by Microsoft]?

      • reply
        February 1, 2013 4:07 PM

        "XNA Game Studio remains a supported toolset for developing games for Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone," the representative added. "Many developers have found financial success creating Xbox LIVE Indie Games using XNA. However, there are no plans for future versions of the XNA product."

        So they will still support XNA 4.0, so really all it is saying they will not create version 5 but 4 will go on as is for Xbox 360, Phone and PC.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 4:27 PM

          But as I follow it XNA doesn't support Windows RT so if WinRT (the runtime) goes anywhere then you're kinda stuck.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 4:27 PM

          Yes, but the xbox 360 dies this year, and XNA won't work on win8 phones or tablets. So basically xna is now only for windows in desktop mode. That's still a lot, but meh.

        • reply
          February 1, 2013 5:51 PM

          If they're not going to continue to develop it, then it's a dead technology that has its days numbered. There's no reason anyone should pick it up now and people who are using it should start considering other platforms because this one has no future at all.

          • reply
            February 1, 2013 8:46 PM

            Thing is, this has happened to a bunch of Microsoft offerings (Games for Windows Live, Silverlight, WMA PlaysForSure), to the point where you start questioning whether Microsoft will actually stand behind a new offering that doesn't dovetail well with its core businesses.

            • reply
              February 1, 2013 8:51 PM

              I assume you feel the same way about all the recent Google product/service shutdowns

              • reply
                February 1, 2013 9:01 PM

                I used Google Buzz once, then said, "Nah." I forgot what Google Wave did, and had to Google it (and apparently the Apache Software Foundation picked it up... ?!?!).

            • reply
              February 2, 2013 7:19 AM

              You could even say the same about Windows Phone itself, with no upgrade path from 7 to 8 (you can't update the OS on old phones, and you can't copy your data from an old phone to a new one).

              Though GFWL is still alive; there's simply few developers who use it because people seem to enjoy the as-or-more restrictive Steam better.

            • reply
              February 2, 2013 8:12 AM

              They seem to be trying to simplify and consolidate a number a technologies. That's fine with me if it ends up producing higher quality stuff. ex: DirectX is now the only option for 3D

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 4:19 PM

      Here's a community-made replacement for XNA, called ANX, that also aims to support higher versions of DirectX as well as OpenGL.

      http://anxframework.codeplex.com/

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 4:23 PM

      I believe your usage of disinterested is not quite correct.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 4:30 PM

      Embrace, extend, extinguish.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 5:39 PM

      Granted I haven't looked at the DirectX SDK since about version 7, but a big part of the appeal of XNA was that it was much easier/friendlier to get a simple game up and running. Hopefully they dont forget that aspect and bake some of the XNA strengths/appeal into future DX sdk revs.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 6:36 PM

      Good.

    • reply
      February 1, 2013 7:19 PM

      I meant good that "Microsoft XNA to be retired" not "casting doubt on Xbox Live Indie Games".

    • reply
      February 2, 2013 7:47 AM

      That Microsoft would stop support has been known for a while, really.

      I'm considering trying out http://slimdx.org/ for my next hobby project, as an alternative.

    • reply
      February 3, 2013 4:17 PM

      There is a God!

Hello, Meet Lola